Volume 74, Number 15 | August 11 - 17 , 2004

Film


Koch on Film

“A Touch of Pink” (+)
This movie received one star from Jami Bernard, movie critic for the Daily News. She said, “The story is tired, the comedy forced and the mother’s larger-than-life quirks are an acquired taste.” The New York Post critic, Lou Lumenick, gave it three stars saying, “In its depiction of Alim’s colorful extended Ismali family, this merry farce is in some ways a gay ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’” I would rate it somewhere in between.

The plot involves two men who are lovers. One is Alim (Jimi Mistry) a Pakistani by descent who was born in Kenya. When his family was expelled, they moved to Toronto. Alim now lives in London with Giles (Kristen Holden-Reid), a proper Englishman. Alim’s mother, Nulu (Suleka Mathew), visits them unexpectedly not knowing of their relationship. They try to conceal the fact that they are lovers, but ultimately she learns the truth, is outraged and quickly returns to Toronto. There are further ups and downs and ultimately a happy ending.

While the acting is professional in all cases, that of Kyle MacLachlan who portrays the spirit of Cary Grant is spectacular. He looks, talks and acts just like him. His role is somewhat similar to that of the six-foot invisible rabbit in the play “Harvey.”

While there is an attempt at camp and some of it comes off, much of it flops. I think it is worth seeing because of the insights given into the Muslim community in Toronto, but don’t expect too much.


“A Home at the End of the World” (+)
This is a mainstream homoerotic film with a number of high-profile actors, e.g., Colin Farrell, Sissy Spacek and Robin Wright Penn. Their excellent acting does not compensate for a very thin storyline. In the end, it is disappointing but worth seeing.

The main character, Bobby, appears at three stages in life: First as a nine-year-old, (this actor was not named in the reviews), then as an adolescent played by Eric Smith, and finally at age 24 played by Colin Farrell. For half of the film, Colin Farrell wears a ridiculous looking wig with hair down to his shoulders. It might have been thrown away by an observant Jewish woman who learned that wigs made from the shorn hair of women in India are not clean (kosher), because they might have been shorn in a religious ceremony dedicated to celebrating polytheism, anathema to Jews who are monotheists. Colin Farrell finally looks like himself when he subjects his head to a pair of scissors.

After his mother’s death, Bobby lives in Cleveland with Jonathan and Alice Glover (Harris Allan and Sissy Spacek). Alice is more than a little flaky. Bobby meets another teenager, Jonathan (Harris Allan), and they are sexually attracted to one another. Jonathan ultimately leaves for college and ends up in the East Village of New York City living with Claire (Robin Wright Penn). Bobby joins Jonathan and Claire and a ménage a tois is created. Some sexual encounters occur — mostly heterosexual — between Bobby and Claire.

Michael Cunningham wrote the script based on his book of the same title. Hopefully the book was more explicit and interesting, but mainstream Hollywood entering the homoerotic movie sector and coming up with a passable product deserves commendation.

The New York Times’ critic, A.O. Smith, arrived at a similar conclusion in a very long review. He wrote, “As a novelist Mr. Cunningham can carry elusive, complex emotions on the current of his lovely, intelligent prose. A screenwriter, though, is more tightly bound to conventions of chronology and perspective, and in parceling his story into discrete scenes, Mr. Cunningham has turned a delicate novel into a bland and clumsy film.”

- Ed Koch

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