Longtime Companion [DVD]
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An examination of the ravages of the AIDS epidemic and its toll on the New York gay community. This powerful drama takes a look at one day from each year of the 1980s and charts the effects of the disease on a group of old friends. Stephen Caffrey and Patrick Cassidy star.
The late director Norman Rene and writer Craig Lucas made a pretty fine creative team on the stage and in the movies, and this 1990 drama about the evolving impact of AIDS on gay New Yorkers is their best cinematic achievement. The ensemble story follows the lives of nine or so characters as word of the so-called "gay cancer" eventually becomes a real force, killing several of them as the years go by. The film works well on a number of levels, not least of which is the enviable closeness of the characters, the script's wit, the bittersweet experience of loss, and a celebratory attitude at the end mixing wisdom with defiance. --Tom Keogh
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Top Customer Reviews
The film opens with the main characters waking up on 3 July 1981 and discovering the article in the New York Times which reports of a 'Rare Cancer found in Homosexuals'. This is against the backdrop of the 4th of July holiday and some of the cast partying on Fire Island in an age of what now seems complete inocence.
Each 'chapter' in the film picks the events from a random day in the following years until 1989. The intervening years have seen illness, the death of several characters and cynicism overwhelming the characters.
This is a strong ensemble cast. Its a wonderful film which was produced on a very small budget and managed to overcome problems in distribution.
I think this and 'And the Band Played On' are very good complimentary pieces to watch side by side.
Bruce Davison's acting is first-rate and him along with the others, take the usual one-dimensional and atypical gay character and bring them to life, with all the accompanying thoughts, feelings and fears that they have as time progresses. This is a landmark gay film and a must see for anyone wanting a more full and rounded version of events than that which is most often portrayed by Hollywood. Great stuff!
This film demonstrates truth and Accuracy about the plight of just how people all over the world had to fight for things and deal with, being given an undated death certificate, with nothing that could save them. We watched helplessly as our loved ones, family members were taken from us. AZT a highly toxic drug was the only source of medication that was available, there really wasn't anything else back then, except a bond and a love within the gay communities all over the world who supported and gave as much as they could to help one another in anyway they could.
A time to remember, how so many back then who lost their lives and with some who are still amongst us who are now long term surviors and companions in present day, who still face the chalenges of HIV.
The film continues over the years in a soap opera/documentary style, and deals with each issue so subtly and delicately, you are faced with a series of truly heartbreaking, realistically emotional scenes.
Bruce Davidson was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of an actor living with AIDS and the film was panned by some critics because it only focused on white 'middle class' men - ironically, exactly what it was supposed to do, in an attempt to shatter the 'it will never happen to us' syndrome.
Longtime Companion is a fantastic film that struck so many chords with me growing up as a gay teenager in what were terrifying and uncertain times. It highlighted the sensationalist, knee-jerk reaction of the media and brought home that this was not a gay disease, but a worldwide threat to everyone.
More than that, it also depicts how the fear and prejudice of society was turned around and challenged, leading to an empowered gay community who stood up for itself and refused to be ignored.
This film is a piece of gay history.
When the film ended, the audience was stunned into silence then a ripple and then a roar of clapping broke out. Silly, in a sense to applaud a silent screen. Afterwards, I spotted Bruce Davison in the lobby - he had evidently been checking out the reception it was getting. I am so glad I had been part of that wave of applause. No Academy Award nomination was better deserved.
The film has some clever moments, eliding effortlessly from one death to the funeral of the deceased's partner barely a year later. The title derives from the newspaper death notices ambiguous phrase "and leaves behind his longtime companion ....", the first nod to the fact that gay folk have partners too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is such a beautiful Gay film which the younger generation can learn a lot from even though they now have many drugs for HIVPublished 1 month ago by MR M LAMB
The disc arrived earlier than expected. The movie is a seminal work about being gay in the United States during a time of mass illness and death within the community. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Bob
LONGTIME COMPANION 1989 **/*** Norman Rene. This must have been very worthy
when it came out, as it is a gay film that deals fairly unrelentingly with the growth of AIDS in... Read more