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Weekend
Year:
2011
Country:
UK
Genre:
Drama, Romance
IMDB rating:
7.7
Director:
Andrew Haigh
Caroline Woolley as House Party Girl 1
Joe Doherty as Justin
Steve Blackman as Straight Man in Bar
Jonathan Wright as Johnny
Chris New as Glen
Jonathan Race as Jamie
Loreto Murray as Cathy (as Loretto Murray)
Tom Cullen as Russell
Mark Devenport as Straight Man in Bar (as Mark Davenport)
Storyline: On a Friday night after a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club, alone and on the pull. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what's expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special. That weekend, in bars and in bedrooms, getting drunk and taking drugs, telling stories and having sex, the two men get to know each other. It is a brief encounter that will resonate throughout their lives. Weekend is both an honest and unapologetic love story between two guys and a film about the universal struggle for an authentic life in all its forms. It is about the search for identity and the importance of making a passionate commitment to your life.
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Reviews
Not your Typical "Gay Movie"
Featuring two of the year's finest performances, as well as an unabashedly honest script, Andrew Heigh's "Weekend" transcends the typical mold of the "gay movie" without making any apologies or concessions to the prudish cinematic standards that have squandered the potential of so many LGBT films of years past. The film tells a simple story, but it does so with such rawness and complexity that it ultimately defies expectations and conventions alike.

The two terrific leads, Tom Cullen and Chris New, portray Russell and Glen, two men who just happen to be gay. After meeting at a club and taking part in what begins as simply a one- night stand, Russell and Glen spend the rest of the weekend together, drinking, smoking, getting high, walking, and engaging in beautifully heartfelt and nuanced discussions about sex, love, marriage, money, and the like. Rather than whitewash these conversations to calm and comfort uneasy audience members, writer-director Haigh allows raw authenticity to dominate every word spoken.

In fact, everything about this film feels real, from the suitably straightforward cinematography to the naturalistic performances, which manage to make the whole affair seem unscripted, despite the clarity of the story's arc as a whole. However, perhaps even more impressive than the film's realism is its intense focus and narrative drive. While each scene does come across as a slice of life, the movie refuses to resort to an episodic or seemingly random "lifelike" structure. Instead, scenes subtly build upon one another as the audience becomes more acquainted with the two primary players, and as these complicated, but always likable, characters develop a deep relationship of their own. In the end, the film culminates in a climax of massive emotions, only to settle into a sincere and sweet finale that elevates the movie to the status of a masterpiece.

While the harsh language, the drugs, and the homosexuality will surely, and sadly, drive some moviegoers away, for those viewers who are willing to open their minds, this phenomenal film offers up one of the finest romances in recent cinematic history.
2011-12-26
Amazing
It's so easy to dismiss a film like this as nothing different from so many indie films about gay romances. Truth be told, I really haven't seen many films of this kind, but this is a truly fantastic film that is among the very best of 2011. It's one of those completely natural films where nothing seems ingenuine or artificial. And aside from that, there's really nothing else to be said. The screenplay is one the year's best, and both leads are fantastic. Tom Cullen, in particular, stands out in one of the finest male performances of the year. It's a completely internal transformation, and he's so in-tune with what this character called for that I'm sort of amazed that he was as perfect as he was. This is a true rising talent and I hope to see more of him.
2013-03-04
Too static and "chatty"
Well, a single hairy gay goes to a gay bar and finds another hairy one... Then they go home, have sex, start conversing and find out that they have common understanding in multiple issues... Not too original start, but things may be going to develop. But they did not. Still the same: lots of reasoning, talks about gay stuff and fears, some sex... Yes, there are some new activities ahead, but Weekend is still a documentary-like narration about two gays among themselves, with some brief communication with "straight" friends. Well accomplished and performed, but without real dynamism and intrigues I would like to detect in a film on related topic, or if strangers get to know each other. "Artistic" ought not to be equal with "commonplace", there are many examples showing otherwise.

For me, not enough as for a feature film. I tend to think that many viewers would like e.g. Freier Fall (Germany) more. At least I did.
2015-02-05
True to life
I know than one is supposed to save the highest mark for a higher being altogether, but I've felt compelled to give it to this movie. And give it gladly, and joyfully, to this simple, honest and unpretentious film. A slice of life, a brief interlude, a weekend among so many others. Living a double life, hating it and at the same time wanting it to come to an end, and yet not having the guts to do whatever it takes. A chance encounter in a sordid place, followed by a few moments of bliss, and then... And then... The two leading actors do a perfectly splendid job, and the director is remarkable in his unobtrusiveness. The camera moves slowly, almost surgically, cutting the next slice, and the next... Until the very last shot! And the final song is beyond compare...
2014-04-03
Boring and done
I was really looking forward to this movie, lots of good reviews and of course, it's gay and I'm part of the LGBT community. The camera shots are good and it does manage to impart a certain "atmosphere" but I found it slow to develop and quite predictable when it did. I was overall a bit bored, so much so that it made me want to write my first review.

Saving graces: Interestingly shot. Rough and raw.

Downfalls: Don't expect anything new. Slow pace.

Would I recommend it? If you are gay and just love and support gay cinema. If you are looking for a down-tempo flick to kill the afternoon.

Very much looking forward to the time when LGBT cinema moves from the tired clichés and into something extraordinary.
2012-09-02
Honest character-driven film
I'm not English, male, or gay, so I probably missed some subtle points in this film, but I liked it a good deal. (Seven is a good rating for me, and this almost qualifies for an eight.)

The story of two new lovers getting to know each other after a drunken one-night stand is touching and revealing of the workings of the human heart. Not-quite-closeted shy Russell and in-your-face Glen are complex characters who change in the weekend they get together. Talking about points of disagreement helps each understand more about what they really feel about various issues. I felt the filmmaker captured what it is to be a real person having real discovery-type conversations. (I had a quick flash of Before Sunrise, when that film worked for me.)

The lovemaking scenes are indeed lovemaking. I was bothered by Brokeback Mountain's because the sex in it seemed so brutal (and I thought more than once "and that doesn't equal love; I'm unconvinced these two are in love at all"); but here, I felt I was witnessing two sane (or as sane as most of us are), healthy men interacting sensually and falling for each other, the sex being part of the increased tenderness and vulnerability between them. I mused on who would find it comfortable/uncomfortable to watch, and I wish I could tell people via this review if they could bear watching the two more explicit scenes or not. Probably if you're willing to watch this film at all, knowing the subject matter in advance, you'll be okay with the level of detail in the sex scenes. There are many moments not sexual which are more intimate and moving. Smart writing in those post-sex intimacies that comprise the bulk of the film.

I also liked the framing of many shots, particularly of Russell in his solitary moments, as the framing told the story of his alienation so clearly. (At one point I flashed on Jim Jarmusch--if someone gave him some color stock, it could have been a Jarmusch moment.) I particularly liked the insert of a scanning surveillance camera, as it heightened the sense that Russell is always aware of and reacting to the panopticon of homophobia all the time. Again, I thought, there is real intelligence in this filmmaking.

A smart, authentic, artistically done film, a terrific addition to the list of thoughtful, small/focused relationship films.
2013-02-10
not my weekend
I am sure to be attacked here for a low rating and for appearing to be critical of this film.

So let me start by saying that I thought the concept behind the story was intriguing - the set up was excellently executed and whilst I predicted the reveal in the bedroom would be the actual guy he had his eyes on in the bar/club it was still a pleasant confirmation when he appeared from behind the door.

The awkwardness of the lifeguard's insecurity yet acceptance of his sexuality was crushing when the end comes....we hoped against hope that it would end happily (which it did but not the way we wanted). And that was equally admirable and great.

The music was in keeping with the film, the photography natural and unobtrusive (a clever trick in such a confined space of a location) and the performances bravely underplayed and palpably real.

My negative is the stereotyping of their lives, drugs drugs and more drugs laced with a bitterness of tired and over explored clichés about gay mens hang ups, baggage, fears and concerns - laced with more drugs...I am sure the writer had a reason for this and I would love to know why...because it let the film down for me. If I was to be fair it is a 6/7 film for me just let down by a jaundiced view.

Both actors were incredible for which they deserve a 10
2012-04-08
What a weekend!
British independent film at its best, first of all I liked that Andrew, Chris & Tom really tore the script to pieces and just went for it which explains the organic feel to the film. Once in a blue moon a film really engages your attention and this film does, there is a beautiful subtleness to it that is really out of the norm in many films with both Tom & Chris giving believable performances.

It makes a refreshing change to watch a film that is actually realistic and could easily happen, which you can't say to every film out there. What's great about this film is the smaller details with many scenes showing the bits inbetween a typical day not just the big ta-dah moment like many other films show, I just love the pace of the film.
2014-02-07
Mixed feelings...
I don't understand why people praise this movie so much. OK, it's a decent low-budget indie movie, that has it's moments, but overall it's not as good as we're told ( or I was told ). "Weekend" is a very slow movie, which isn't the problem, because I love this kind of movies. The problem is that besides the engaging dialog, not much happens here. Slow movies are supposed to build up a lot of tension, so the last half hour is packed with events and/or plot twists. In this case, the story isn't going anywhere. We can only see the two protagonists going out, doing drugs, having sex, and talking a lot. As I said before, the drug-sodden discussions were interesting, though a bit boring at some point; the sex scenes were raw and passionate, and there were also interesting camera angles. But despite all this, the whole story falls somehow flat, leaving you unsatisfied-at the end we don't get pretty much anything. Also, the characters could have been better developed-I was left with the impression that I didn't get to know them at all, despite the vast dialog. I'm not saying that this was a bad movie, just that I didn't exactly got what I was promised-a complex story, with well-developed characters involved in an interesting plot, that will definitely move you. I wasn't moved that much, the ending was pretty much predictable, and it kind of killed it for me-call me a hopeless romantic, but I love a - at least partially - happy ending.
2012-01-19
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