Sunday, 13 June 2010

Jeffrey


Jeffrey; Comedy, USA, 1996; D: Christopher Ashley, S: Steven Webber, Michael T. Weiss, Patrick Stewart, Bryan Batt, Christine Baranski, Sigourney Weaver

The name from the title belongs to the cheerful gay waiter and actor who, obviously, loves to sleep with men. But, as the AIDS reports are at an all time high in town, he suddenly decides to not have sex anymore, even though he falls in love with Steve in a gym. When a car runs into him, he is helped by Mother Teresa. The older gay man Sterling advises him to simply have a relationship with the person he likes. But just then, Jeffrey finds out Steve has AIDS, which causes him to live an even more ascetic life. But after a lot of thinking on a gay gathering, Jeffrey decides to give Steve a chance and they start a relationship.

The adaptation of an Off-Broadway play, the first comedy about the AIDS virus, "Jeffrey" is a bravely relaxed and original film that showed that director Christopher Ashley has a talent for opulent, untrammelled characteristics of a complicated subject. The title hero Jeffrey is adequately described as an unusual and cheerful person, whereas the gay theme is presented mostly without cliches. The only scarcely handled ingredient is the sole theme about the AIDS virus, though it was probably done to make it understated. It's interesting how shrill some scenes are: when he meets Steve in a gym, Jeffrey waives with his hand and all of a sudden all the people around him "freeze" while he catches his breath. A similarly inventive situation is when suddenly waiters start cheerfully dancing, but when he says: "We must not have fantasies about each other", it all turns back into normal. Besides that, the story is divided into chapters with titles, all of which have different colors. The second half of this cult film loses a lot of energy, drags slightly with some tiresome characters and is not as half as fun as the opening act. Still, it shows laughs and pain in a dignified manner whereas Patrick Stewart is excellent in the untypical and refreshing role of Jeffrey's mentor Sterling.

Grade:++

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