This film is a surreal character study, following the misfit lives of a small group of 20 something rent boys. It's a strange sort of film. I have never seen anything else quite like this. The best way to give you a better impression of what I mean is to say that it shares some parallels with Oliver Twist, if the Oliver character was older and gay, if his workhouse was really a brothel where he squatted illegally and where Fabien is really his pimp.
I first saw this film when I was far too young to understand what any of it was about. But, somehow, it made a big impression on me. So, I looked this film up not so long ago to check it out and to see if it left me with the same feelings as it did before. I found it kind of sad, it's strange, because I find it heart warming and yet some how heart breaking. Sweet yet bitter!
We see the late River Phoenix playing the Oliver typed role, led by his very own Artful Dodger in the form of a young Keanu Reeves. I was originally touched by the close friendship that they seemed to share. It seemed one of a real love that transcends sexual attraction. There is some one-sided attraction going on in there; which the other is well aware of and doesn't mind, and I think that's what originally touched me. The concept of a straight guy being friends with a gay guy that is in love with him and it being a non-issue: A true friendship. Watching this film again however I have a completely different take on it. Now, it looks to me as if the whole friendship was just as one sided as the sexual attraction and that makes this film even more sad for me.
The only real plot is that one character is in search for his mother while the other tags along to hide from his father.
Even though this film is not for most people I still think that it is well worth a look. It has a bit of every movie genre in there: Road Trip, Coming Out, Coming of Age, Living happily ever after, and those ones that don't really end; the ones where you're faced with the cruel fact of life where not every story has a happy ending.