Simon Written and directed by Eddy Terstall Strand, opens April 7, Quad
What begins as a Dutch comedy about a gay man's friendship with a wildly un-P.C. straight man morphs into a bold and exhausting examination of fatal illnessand not AIDS. Camiel (Marcel Hensema) is a mild-mannered dental student who is nearly run over by Simon (Cees Geel), a carefree café owner and drug dealer. They become friends, and Simon invites Camiel into his circle of eccentrics (wild wingman, kickboxer girlfriend, one-eyed barkeep). Then, when Camiel betrays Simon in a last-ditch attempt at heterosexuality, the men part ways. Fourteen years later, they meet again, and this time Simon is dying of cancer. What follows is the achingly bald portrayal of a man in his final months of life, surrounded by the people he loves. Camiel is the Nick to Simon's Gatsby, only more supportive and more involved: Simon invites him in, and Camiel is changed. Eddy Terstall's film is bipolar and ultimately wrenching, but it works if you let it.