It was probably inevitable that if queer filmmakers should want to adapt ‘the classics’ that they would start with romance first. And who better to begin with than Jane Austen herself. Newbie writer/director Byrum Geisler’s very spirited attempt at converting Pride and Prejudice into a modern day gay love story may have Miss Austen turning in her grave, but it will undoubtedly win over the lovelorn hearts of gay men of a certain age who have always dreamed of finally meeting their own swarthy Mr Darcy.
Geisler takes more than a few liberties with the original plot but tries his best to at least maintain the essence of Austen’s most famous novel. Ben Bennett (Ethan Sharrett) is a successful attorney in a small picturesque town in Virginia. He is openly gay and lives in large house in one of the best neighborhoods, and is quite a pillar of the community. One day in Court he comes across Lee Darcy (Chase Conner) a alcoholic factory welder who was charged with domestic abuse on his girlfriend. The two men take an instant dislike for one another, never dreaming their paths will ever cross again.
When they do, both men have other partners with them, and their is still some unspoken hostility between them. However much later on when Ben is eventually able to get Lee’s conviction quashed, we suddenly realize that has been a lot of gazing into each other’s eyes going on, and the immaculately turned-out and well-educated Ben admits he has fallen in love with this rough diamond who has been playing hard to get for far too long.
There are some sub plots that work well like Ben’s best girlfriend Jane Gardiner (Brandi Price) getting the hots over Chuck Bingley (Jason Mac) a back-to-nature woodsman, but also others that are embarrassingly lame like the one involving two annoying cliched stereotype gay men played by Bryan Pridgen and Daniel Wallen. Also the two homophobic rants by Lee’s troubled girlfriend Cathy (Carol Marie Rinn) were both hackneyed and awkward and really dated the whole piece too.
However vying for the credits as the star of the piece is the stunning mountain scenery which it is all shot in glorious autumnal colors. For people who expect that every gay movie has its fair share of male nudity and lots of intimate bedroom scenes, then be warned, in Beyond the Fall every man keeps all his clothes on all the time, and the only panting is done when they go out for yet another long hike.
The movie will never become any sort of classic in its own right, but is nevertheless completely charming, and for the most part, extremely entertaining and should make for a perfect date-night movie.