The Boys in the Band

That's not how you do the Macarena!
Verdict: 
Verdict: 9/10 - With a terrific screenplay and excellent performances, The Boys in the Band makes for a fun yet moving watch
Release Date: 
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Written by: 

Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto, and Andrew Rannells lead the latest movie adaptation of the stage play.

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The entire openly gay cast of the 2018 Broadway revival of The Boys in the Band have reprised their roles for Netflix's feature film adaptation of the play.

The film is set in New York City in 1968 and depicts the night of Harold (Zachary Quinto)'s birthday party, which is being hosted by Michael (Jim Parsons) at his apartment.

A bunch of their gay friends - including Michael's boyfriend Donald (Matt Bomer), Larry (Andrew Rannells), his lover Hank (Tuc Watkins), Emory (Robin de Jesus), and Bernard (Michael Benjamin Washington) - come over to celebrate but the night of festivities is derailed with the surprise arrival of Michael's homophobic and potentially closeted former college roommate Alan (Brian Hutchison).

Mart Crowley's play was groundbreaking when it premiered in 1968 as it was one of the first to focus on the lives of gay men, unapologetically and without judgement, when the world wasn't ready to fully accept them, and its 1970 movie adaptation was just as revolutionary.

Thankfully, times have changed since then and gay stories are accepted, common, and even Oscar-winning, but that means this version makes less of an impact today.

 

Despite getting a screenplay update from Crowley and Ned Martel, the film does seem quite dated and feels very much like a play, as it hasn't been given much of a movie transformation.

However, it is still relevant and perhaps even more moving today as it proves how much times have changed since the '60s.

Parsons, best known for playing the nerdy Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory, shows a completely different side to himself and gives a poignant performance as Michael, who is still tormented about being gay and hides his true identity from Alan.

The film begins as a fun comedy-drama, with some light banter among friends, but descends into an intense war of words as they getdrunker, with Michael becoming the nastiest of them all.

Yet somehow, Quinto manages to be the star of the show as Harold, who has an edginess and charm about him and seems aloof and unfriendly.

He commands attention, brings a different energy into the room when he finally shows up to his party, and delivers his lines with such drama.

However, some of the characters aren't explored enough, and it would have been nice to know more about who Donald was and to explore the clear tension between Michael and Harold.

Despite this, The Boys in the Band has an incredible screenplay that switches back and forth from being silly and fun, sad and poignant to downright cruel and it was a joy to watch these talented actors throwing these sharp, witty and catty lines of dialogue at each other.

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