Torch Song Trilogy
A review of the movie "Torch Song Trilogy" starring Anne Bancroft and Matthew Broderick. A depiction of homosexualtiy and prejudice.
Coming from an African third world country, I must admit that my attitude towards gay people have changed a lot since I came to the United States. The reasons for that change is the fact that the USA is much less homophobic than the country where I was leaving, but also a couple movies such as Philadelphia, and others played an important role in educating me. Educating us was in fact one of the best feature of that movie (Torch Song Trilogy). Another great aspect of this film was the fantastic acting performances by Brian Kerwin, Anne Bancroft and Matthew Broderick.
This movie was filmed and directed in a manner that puts us (viewers) in a position of witness to the “gay world” and all that gay people go through just because of their sexual orientation. The director reinforced our role as witness from the first scene where the main character starts to share his life experiences with us. This very first scene gets us totally involved in his life. Instead of just watching the movie we start to resent feelings towards the character and what happens to him which is very important in this kind of movies where the feelings of the characters are the base of the movie. In this case, the directors decision on how to film that first scene was particularly good and efficient in “putting us” in a face to face discussion with Brian Kerwin in a place that was not very much lighted so that we focus only on the character. Another point that was very educational for the viewers was that the script emphasized the fact that gays live the exact same life that others do, they go through the same problems, pain, joy, ect. The fact that Brian Kerwin’s first boyfriend was cheating on him is very typical in all types of relationships, also the fact that the boyfriend had problems admitting his homosexuality is very common among gays. Then comes the conflict with Brian’s mother who does not accept her son’s sexual orientation and keeps on confronting him which is probably the most important problem that gay people face in their life: acceptance. And this problem will be the big part of the story in that film but from the viewers point of view, we sympathize with the son and take side with him through all of his actions.
The fact that the script and the director’s work was very good would not mean anything without a fantastic performance by the actors. It would be very difficult to find one scene in which Brian Kerwin’s acting was not good. The many close ups of the movie showed how good he was in transmitting feelings just by using facial expressions !! His performance attracted the attention to him in every single scene his was in. Anne Bancroft on the other side was very good at using the tone of her voice when talking to her “son”. One of the most interesting scene was the one at the cemetery where the two actor’s were having a big argument and in which they both expressed so much feelings in their own personal ways : Anne Bancroft using her voice, and Brian Kerwin using his facial expressions power. Finally, I must add that Matthew Broderick’s performance even though was shorter, was also very good.
I will conclude by commenting on the fact that the movie was very complete in dealing with all types of problems encountered by gays such as adoption, marriage, ect. The movie also did a good job in filming the gay couples in all types of situation (like in the gay bar) even though sometimes it shocked members of the audience such as when they where kissing. It was a very good and eye opening film !