Directed by Joe Mantello, The Boys in the Band is the newest adaptation of Mart Crowley’s play in 1968 and features the same cast as its 2018 Broadway adaptation.
An Upper East Side psychodrama based in 1968, The Boys in the Band brings you a riot of emotions with self-hate at the front and center for most of these characters while it shows you how far we have come regarding LGBTQIA+ issues and their portrayal onscreen. But its narrative of most homosexuals being filled with copious amounts of self-hate is up for debate given that it doesn’t talk about the reason behind it at all – society. With stellar performances, this 2020 film needs to be watched simply for its cast of entirely openly gay actors which provides the queer community with some much-needed representation.
Cast – Jim Parsons as Michael brings out a whole range of emotions that you won’t necessarily expect after watching him over the years as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Robin de Jesus, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington, and Tuc Watkins give memorable performances throughout the film!
Storyline – A group of gay friends gathers at Michael’s apartment in West Village to attend a birthday party for a common friend, Harold, who is always fashionably late. What looks like a regular gathering soon turns into a series of unfortunate events when Michael’s ex-roommate, Alan who is also deeply homophobic decides to show up at his house uninvited.
Watch the trailer here!
What I liked – Jim Parsons does a fabulous job of bringing to the surface each of Michael’s emotions, especially his internalized shame. It’s so refreshing to come across a film that consists of entirely openly gay actors. It’s so interesting to watch each of these characters live such different lives and their dynamics with each other. Being written before the Stonewall riots in 1969, The Boys in the Band delves into being queer and everything that entailed during its time in a way I haven’t seen before.
What I didn’t quite like – While The Boys in the Band was a great play in its time, it doesn’t quite work in this day and age because of references made throughout the film. There is no clarification given about Alan’s reason to show up at a party he isn’t invited to, why he isn’t able to leave even when he’s so homophobic, and the reason why he was crying over the phone, all of which make it difficult to understand his character in his entirety. I’m also confused about the dynamics within this group; how they choose to hang out together with constant banter that looks an awful lot like wounding each other on purpose.