Grief (1994): Glatzer’s Modest AIDS Dramedy Starring Jackie Beat

Richard Glatzer’s Grief, an honest, modest AIDS comedy-drama, is based on his personal experience as producer of Divorce Court.

Jo (played by Jackie Beat, known as Kent Fuher), a producer of a TV show called “Love Court,” runs his office as a tyrant-earth mother, which is needed considering the sexual games that go on in there.

Mark (Craig Chester), one of the show’s writers, commemorates the first anniversary of his lover’s death (the film is dedicated to Glatzer’s lover, who died of AIDS), but both he and college friend Jeremy are attracted to the sexually ambiguous Bill (a miscast Alexis Arquette), who might get back with his girlfriend.

Despite the rich emotional and comic possibilities, Grief is a bit dull and its dialogue strained. Jo’s heterosexual assistant (Ileana Douglas) brings some humor, but the film can’t wring more laughter from “Love Court” plots, summarized in shorthand like “circus lesbians.” Even so, Glatzer’s humanistic message, that this group of co-workers functions as an intimate comes across.