Modern Love, the Real Thing, Over 48 Hours in Weekend

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Weekend
Directed by Andrew Haigh
Sundance Selects
Opens September 23
IFC Center

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Naturalistic without being ineloquent, heartfelt yet unsentimental, Weekend is the rarest of birds: a movie romance that rings true. After spending an evening with his domesticated straight friends, Russell (Tom Cullen) goes dancing and then home with the object of his desire. But before they can part on customarily awkward morning-after terms, Glen (Chris New) whips out a tape recorder and asks Russell to narrate the night’s events, from first sight to last sigh. Jump-started by Glen’s impersonal art project, they begin a free-form, increasingly intimate dialogue, exchanging ideas, confessions, and come-ons. Per the title, there’s a proscribed duration to what transpires, but we’re so hooked on the moment that the shape of the affair never plays as structure. Veteran editor Andrew Haigh proves adept at scripting characters with full, compelling personalities, facilitating fearless and beguiling performances from his two young leads, and working with DP Urszula Pontikos to devise a visual scheme that’s both organic and evocative. Perhaps the loveliest film to ever show a jizzed belly, Weekend manages to have universal appeal without muting its gayness. It’s a film in which love and sex aren’t fetish objects but negotiable aspects in a developing relationship. Each man has his limits and is only more appealing for having the wherewithal to know and accept what they are.

 
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