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REVIEW – Weekend (2011)

March 19, 2012

FilmJuice have my review of Andrew Haigh’s relationship drama Weekend.

The film tells the story of two gay men who meet in a club and spend the night together. Upon waking, Glenn (Chris New) sticks a tape recorder under Russell’s (Tom Cullen) nose and asks him to give detailed feedback about the sex and the way the pair met. Horrified by Glenn’s frankness and yet compelled to accede to his request out of affection and desire, Russell begins to talk and when Russell begins to talk the one night stand slowly begins to transform into a relationship. Weekend is the story of how two very different people strive to overcome their differences in order to find enough common ground to exist as a couple:

It seems faintly absurd that, in this day and age, we should feel obliged to make the case for why it is that more straight people should watch gay films. Many fans of gay independent film will stress the educational benefits of watching a film about people unlike yourself but this makes it all sound a little bit too much like homework. People should not seek out Andrew Haigh’s Weekend because they feel obliged to be supportive of minority filmmaking or because they want to see something a bit different and exotic. The case for watching Haigh’s Weekend is the same for watching any great film: Watch it because it will help you to better understand yourself. In fact, Weekend is the single most grown-up film about human relationships that you will see this year and that is true regardless of who you are and how you live your life.

Needless to say, I adored this film and recommend it to anyone and everyone who happens upon this blog post. So many films deal in relationships and bndy about words like ‘love’, ‘desire’ and ‘loneliness’ but few actually address what those words actually mean. Weekend is one of those films.

4 Comments
  1. Mark C permalink
    March 22, 2012 12:24 pm

    This is the best gay film I’ve seen in ages (perhaps amongst the best ever) and is indeed a great film fullstop. I don’t recall seeing a better depiction of modern English leisure time and city life since Spaced finished (drugs! kebabs! drinking with friends of friends you don’t know very well! night buses!)

    is also a great study of internalised homophobia which you don’t really see except in fairly broad strokes (like Roy Cohn in Angels in America) ie when Russell’s friend is kind of irritated by his reticence at the end of the film and Russell thinks he’s doing him a favour not sharing details of his life with him.

    It seems faintly absurd that, in this day and age, we should feel obliged to make the case for why it is that more straight people should watch gay films.

    Haigh sort of comments on the weary state of gay cinema when Glen says about his art project something like “Straights won’t care and the gays will only come in the hope of seeing some cock”

    it doesn’t stop him presenting copious male nudity to his gay male audience however

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  2. March 22, 2012 2:16 pm

    Hi Mark :-)

    Yeah, I picked up on that too…

    I think half the problem with gay cinema is that inferiority complex that Glen alludes to. Interestingly, I don’t think that lesbian film has the same problem as lesbian films are quite frequently picked up by art house distributors and marketed at a broader (and straighter) market. If you look at IMDb, the posters for Haigh’s previous film provides a neat illustration of the problem: they look like the kind of adverts you see in the windows of up-scale shops in Soho right down to the attractive guy in the foreground and the slightly clubby atmosphere.

    Interesting take on the scene with Russell’s friend as I read it quite differently. I assumed that Russell’s irritation was due to the fact that his friend was suddenly wanting an emotionally open relationship whereas before Russell had kept his private life to himself. I read that change as being due to the fact that the straight bloke was suddenly confronted by the realities of his friend’s sexuality and so over-compensated in quite a jarring fashion.

    Glad you liked the film too though, it’s definitely one of the best films I’ve seen in the last year or so.

    Like

  3. gayfilmmagazine permalink
    June 27, 2012 8:38 pm

    We also liked WEEKEND very much.

    One thing we didn’t like though was the extensive drug use, which also sends out the wrong message, we think. It’s almost as if the film says that all gay guys use drugs and do not even discuss it – as if it were totally normal and okay, like eating ice-cream.

    We have just reviewed WEEKEND for our magazine, too. You can find our review here: http://gayfilmmagazine.com/?p=2255

    We’re always happy about new visitors :))

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  4. June 28, 2012 7:11 am

    Hmm.

    I don’t do drugs and never have but I tend to think that if you are at a point in your life when you a) have no dependents and b) can afford to pay the dealer then drug use really is no more problematic than eating ice cream. It’s their life and if they want to spend it getting fucked up, I have no problem with that at all.

    Also, as someone who isn’t gay I didn’t walk away from Weekend thinking ‘oh gay people use drugs ALL the time!’ I don’t even understand how you would begin to make that type of inference.

    Furthermore, I think that this film sends an overwhelmingly positive message about young gay men. It’s not like one of those terrible US gay indie films where everyone is married and closeted until they meet the ‘right guy’ and fall in love.

    This is one of the most humane films I have ever seen. It is a film about two people trying to reconcile their pre-conceived ideas about relationships with the reality of who it is they actually want to spend time with. This film sends an overwhelmingly positive message because it shows the raw humanity that lurks beneath the posturing and the identity politics.

    To suggest that this film doesn’t send a positive message because a couple of the characters smoke weed or do a few lines of coke is nothing short of moral imbecility.

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