Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Better Half

Like most successful gay couples, Tony and Leo seem to be an unlikely pair. One is a single-minded successful fund manager who is focused on scoring the biggest deal of his career to date, whilst the other is a dedicated Emergency Room Social Worker who wants to solve all the problems of the troubled people struggling with major personal issues in his neighborhood. They have been together four years now and Leo thinks that this Christmas he should propose to Tony as he knows this is what he wants.  The trouble is that Leo still has a commitment phobia which is put even more to the test the next day when Tony moots the idea of them adopting a recently abandoned premature baby.
Leo is not the only one who is not on board about the two of them becoming fathers, as Tony’s conservative mother is completely opposed to the idea of him parenting an unknown child. In fact it is her prejudiced opposition that so infuriates Leo, that he actually concedes and agrees to the idea.  His one main proviso is that Tony will give up his work and become a full time father and do absolutely everything for the baby. It’s a concept that doesn’t sit well with all their voluble political correct gay friends, but it is an arrangement that seems to suit both men. 
Then disaster strikes and Tony is fatally wounded by one of his unbalanced ‘clients’ and a grieving Leo is literally left holding baby Dylan. The Hospital’s Senior Doctor who had always been vehemently against allowing these two gay men to get custody, now seizes the opportunity to try and legally take the child back. She is however met with fierce resistance by Leo’s friends and colleagues especially as it seems that a distraught and somewhat terrified Leo may even give in and actually allow her to find alternative parents for Dylan.
This refreshing new gay drama written and directed by first time filmmaker Michelle Clay intuitively deals with love and loss, and how we can finally see in ourselves what others have seen all along.  Perceptive Tony knew Leo well enough to appreciate he always had the strength and generosity of spirit to become a really good father, and the happy conclusion does in fact part counterbalance the sadness over the loss of a very kind soul. What is remarkable about the provenance of the movie is that this story about two very middle-aged white gay men has in fact been created by a single African-American female. What she has created is a gay drama that for once does not deal with the usual issues of sexuality, but instead focuses on the dynamics of a family coping with parenting and unexpected grief.
For a micro-budgeted indie movie Clay unusually pulled in quite a large cast led by two talented openly gay actors newbie Jaimie Fauth as Leo and Grant Landry (TV’s The Lair) as Tony who had a very genuine chemistry together that helped them both give perfect emotionally-charged performances.  All round the movie’s characters were for the most part well rounded with just the occasional mis-fire with a couple of the cliched stereotypes such as the rather screechy Hospital Doctor.
It is an impressive debut from someone who is obviously an impassioned new filmmaker who shows a very natural flair in telling a story in a compelling manner.  It will be interesting to see what she follows this imaginative start with. 


Posted by queerguru  at  16:38

Genres:  drama

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