Hunter Lee Hughes’s new feature film that has its digital release today is probably one of the most achingly beautiful movies that we shall see all year. His exquisitely layered piece which is part drama and part fantasy unfolds with a stream of ridiculously handsome young men reeling off some 32 poems that acts as an integral part of the story rather than just as mere narration.
This is the tale of a young boy whose unstable mother, a self-indulgent avant-garde artist, imprisons him in his puppet theater, and once locked she then builds an art installation out of it. The men are part of the boy’s imagination and the way that he copes with his confinement, and the poems that they recite to him reflect not just his present predicament, but also of his less troubled past, and his fantasies for the future.
The movie starts in happier times with the courtship of the boy’s father, an actor, with his mother but when that relationship starts to disintegrate and the father takes up with a younger mistress, the boy becomes a pawn between them.
It’s an ambitious project that should be considered as a work of art in itself than simply a mere narrative, and that has a very definite queer sensibility to it. It uses a wealth of glorious poems from the likes of William Blake, Emily Dickinson. Harold Monro, Walt Whitman, William Wordsworth, W.B. Yeats and mixes them with passages from the bible and work from two contemporary writers including Hughes himself.
Stylishly shot in shades of black and white, Hughes has ensured that every single frame leaves a lasting memory. He is helped enormously in achieving this with an impressive array of talent in his cast that includes Alexander Dreymon, and that is dominated by the Venezuelan actress Patricia Velásquez who is breathtakingly wonderful as the unhinged mother.
Asides from the sheer beauty of the piece, Hughes movie will also resound with people who still bear the scars of their own difficult childhood as his tale touches on issues that many of us will be able to relate too
Guys Reading Poems may not be of those movies that are easily accessible or even strives for universal appeal, but if the idea of it strikes a chord with you, then you will be completely mesmerized for the entire 98 minutes.