Gay Pride Month: Longtime Companion (1990): How a Gay Community Dealt Honorably and Lovably with the AIDS Crisis

Gay Pride Month: Longtime Companion– Tribute to All Those Who Lost their Lives 

Norman Rene’s Longtime Companion carried the burden of being one of the the first theatrical movies to deal directly with AIDS.  As such, it faced the tasks of placing the horrible AIDS crisis on the national agenda and in the broader socio-political contexts.

Grade: A- (**** out of *****)

Timing is everything: This meant that the film became gentler in tone and uplifting in message than it needed to be–and would have been–under different circumstances.

Gay Directors, Gay Films? By Emanuel Levy (Columbia University Press, August 2015).

Longtime Companion was not, however, the first fictional work on AIDS.  It followed Larry Kramer’s angry autobiographical play, “The Normal Heart” and William Hoffman’s “As Is,” both made in 1985, and the indie film “Parting Glances” of 1986, which not many people saw.

When first encountered, in Manhattan and on the largely gay resort of Fire Island, the tale’s characters are members of a community that rides high in the wake of the 1970s sexual liberation and the advances made by the gay movement.

Thus, in 1981, when the N.Y. Times first reports a rare strain of cancer among homosexuals, they respond with jokes, shrugging-off the story with disbelief.  Even as things begin to worsen, and some men die, there’s no new consciousness or activism.  The group continues to get together and engage in cooking, chatting, love-making.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following the group over the next eight years, the movie chronicles how men devoted to pleasure and friendship shed their high spirits to take up new responsibilities, caring for one another unto death. Bafflement gives way to uneasy coping and finally to mournful accommodation. The change is gradual: At the finale, with half of the members dead, a surviving couple vows to become political activist.

In “Longtime Companion,” gay friends and lovers suffer an attack on their fundamental values and, finally, on their very existence. The movie implies that AIDS seeps into everyday life, changing love, work, and play. In Craig Lucas’ screenplay, AIDS is seen through the suffering of one particular group: upwardly-mobile white gay men who have well-paying jobs, wear designer clothes, shop at Bloomingdale’s and spend summers on Fire Island.  They are all handsome and vigorous and, until the advent of AIDS, their lives are joyous, and to a large degree hedonistic.

The film chronicles the terrible events that overtake eight friends between 1981, when they first become aware of the “strange” virus, and 1989, when loved ones are memorialized and buried. The movie ends as it begins, emphasizing the toll within the gay community and the need to face the catastrophe with heroic dignity.

The characters are sympathetic, particularly the central figure, David (Bruce Davison), a rich, middle-age man who doesn’t have to work for a living. With his smooth, reassuring manner, David is a pillar of strength. When his friends begin to get sick, he shifts from trivia and gossip to compassionate care-giver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David is a stabilizing father figure to all the other men: his lover, Sean (Mark Lamos), a successful soap opera writer; Fuzzy (Stephen Caffrey) a showbiz lawyer; sweet-tempered John (Dermot Mulroney); John’s friend Willy (Campbell Scott), a gym instructor who takes up with Fuzzy; Howard (Patrick Cassidy) an actor who appears as a gay character on Sean’s soap; and Howard’s live-in lover Paul (John Dossett).

The only female character is Lisa (Mary Louise Parker), who hangs out with the guys as a close friend and reliable confidante.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longtime Companion is at it’s most urgent and poignant when it’s specific in details.  The most memorable passages depict how David takes care of his disintegrating lover whose mind progressively weakens. At first, in an attempt to fool Sean’s producer, David writes his scripts as well as instructions of how to communicate them. But the befuddled Sean garbles the instructions and the conversations turn to shambles in scenes that are as painful as they are funny.

When hope vanishes, David gently urges Sean with the unforgettable credo, “Just let go. Relax. Nothing bad is going to happen. Let go.” Nursing Sean to the very end, David is a solacing angel easing his lover toward death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story is structured as a fable about an extended family in which the partners (David and Sean) die, leaving the children bereft and alone. Attempting to recreate a casual chronicle, the film implies that this is a typical group of New York homosexuals. Vincent Canby accused the film of being parochial and self-absorbed—“It’s as if the rest of America didn’t exist. This self-absorption makes the movie so tough to take, so depressing.”

The film’s homogeneity is undeniable. In only one brief scene a Hispanic with AIDS gets a mercy call, and the only black in the film is a male nurse who attends a dying white man. But is Canby’s accusation fair Canby himself concedes that “a movie doesn’t have to mention everything going on in the world to convince the audience of its awareness.” Is it valid to expect every black-themed film to embrace the entire spectrum of black lifestyles

In his astute review, the great Village Voice critic Andrew Sarris discussed the problem of creating individualized characters in the context of a collective statement.  The movie was undeniably ambitious and conscientious about the AIDS catastrophe, but is it fair, Sarris asked, to apply rigorous aesthetic standards to movies about AIDS For Sarris, the film viewed gay subculture from the inside, but he felt that the dialogue was so knowing, the laughter so confidentially unexplained that non-gay audiences would feel excluded from the conversation.

The filmmakers’ intent was to show people making the best of an inconceivable situation. While the goal is to console and inspire, this is not to suggest that the movie is flawless. Produced by American Playhouse, it has the restraining good taste that has marked this outfit’s other productions. Nostalgia and self-protection imply that everything in gay life was lovely before the curse–the promiscuity of the Fire Island scene is flaunted as a pre-AIDS Paradise Lost.

Under the circumstances it was made, Longtime Companion was understandably a little too tame, a bit too upbeat in showing how one particular gay community–affluent and hedonistic no doubt–was forced to become therapy-oriented and politically active.  The movie’s evident message was that AIDS could improve one’s character.  In this picture, no one panics, no one deserts his sick lover, no one gives way to despair.

Made in 1990, many gay men needed to hear those messages.

Oscar Nominations:

Best Supporting Actor: Bruce Davison

Cast
Campbell Scott as Willy
Patrick Cassidy as Howard
John Dossett as Paul
Mary-Louise Parker as Lisa
Stephen Caffrey as Fuzzy
Welker White as Rochelle
Bruce Davison as David
Mark Lamos as Sean
Dermot Mulroney as John
Michael Schoeffling as Michael
Brian Cousins as Bob
Annie Golden as Heroin Addict
Brent Barrett as Soap Actor
Dan Butler as Walter
Robi Martin as Transvestite
Robert Joy as Ron
Tony Shalhoub as Paul’s Doctor
David Drake as GMHC Volunteer
Michael Carmine as Alberto
Melora Creager as Finger Lakes Trio
Jesse Hultberg as Finger Lakes Trio
Lee Kimble as Finger Lakes Trio
Brad O’Hare as restaurant waiter

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88