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Weekend

‘Weekend’ begins when Russell (Tom Cullen) meets Glen (Chris New) at a seemingly dismal gay bar after a house party with his straight friends.

The next morning Glen interviews Russell for an art project and we find out more about them as they discover each other and their differences become apparent. In a twist of fate they end up spending the weekend together in various bars and Russell’s poky flat. The chemistry between Russell and Glen fuels the story with only two other characters credited; this works because the protagonists are exceptionally beautifully drawn characters.

The filmmaking is hauntingly real, watching ‘Weekend’ you have the visceral sensation of actually spending this time with the couple. The location is not made apparent, it could be any English city and this helps to ensure nothing detracts from the magnetic appeal of Russell and Glen to each other and consequently the audience’s attraction to them. Their brief encounter accelerates into something more special, perhaps something that they might not have been aware they were looking for. We are rooting for their burgeoning relationship right up until the film’s conclusion and hopefully beyond the confines of a weekend into the rest of their lives.

‘Weekend’ has been nominated for a slew of awards and scooped the Best of Festival Award at the Nashville film festival. This is the second feature length outing for writer/director Andrew Haigh, although in the past he has worked as an editor for blockbusters such as Gladiator. It is refreshing to see a British Film with empathetic and important statements to make about being a gay guy in your twenties living in modern Britain, but also resonating with straight lives.

There is a beautifully constructed idea about how experiences with a new lover means projecting your ideas of self onto them, which in turn reflects back at you the person you want to be. The acting is outstanding and I look forward to seeing Cullen and New in the future.

The film’s only downfall is that it may be a bit optimistic and possibly a tiny bit wistful. Saying this, true connections, though perhaps rare, do happen and it really is a pleasure to witness Glen and Russell attempt to start something in their own lives. This is not a gay issue film, it is a film that happens to be about two men meeting each other and sidelining their anxieties and in order to possibly create happiness in their own lives.

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