As I didn’t care for Christophe Honore‘s Sorry Angel, I slipped out of the theatre after…oh, 85 minutes or so. Life is short.
Sorry Angel is actually a well-written, better-than-decent period drama (early ’90s) about a couple of gay guys separated by age and education levels, but influencing each other for the better in various open-ended, whatever-the-fuck ways. It’s not a terrible thing to sit through, but it kind of meanders along without a great deal happening. Then I began to realize that nothing actually would happen. I began to exhale audibly and glance at my watch around the 45-minute mark.
The main protagonist is Jacques (Pierre Deladonchamps), an HIV-positive writer in his late 30s, living with a young son. The romantic interest is Arthur (Vincent LaCoste), a 22 year-old bisexual lightweight. They both struck me as relentlessly self-obsessed, thinking about their schtufenhaufers above everything else, and given to blah-blahing about whatever comes into their heads. Plus they’re pathetically addicted to cigarettes. I started out merely disliking these guys, but I soon graduated into despising and then hating the ground they stood on.
A friend who attended my 7 pm screening has just written that “Sorry Angel had no reason whatsoever to be 132 minutes long.”
There’s a stand-out scene in which a dying gay guy with Kaposi’s Sarcoma lesions gets into a bathtub with Jacques. (He resists the idea at first but Jacques pulls him in.) They talk things over in a murmuring, open-hearted fashion, like old marrieds. I respect the inherent sadness and emotional candor and whatnot, and I doubt if I’ll ever forget this scene. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel…uhm, uneasy? Does this make me an asshole?
And the cigarettes! There isn’t a single scene in Sorry Angel in which someone doesn’t light up. Jesus H. Christ, can you give those stinkweeds a rest? The smoking in this movie smokes is so relentless I felt I was getting early-stage cancer from just watching this.
On top of which I prefer modestly-behaved, straight-friendly gay films like Call Me By Your Name, Moonlight, Brokeback Mountain and The Times of Harvey Milk. Oh, I’m sorry — does that make me sound like a heterosexual straight-washer? If you want to call me that, fine, but I’m not a big fan of sticky, cummy, in-your-face sexual behavior a la Sorry Angel, 120 Beats per Minute, John Cameron Mitchell‘s Shortbus, Taxi Zum Klo and so on. I prefer films that hold back on that stuff. Sorry, p.c. brownshirts, but I’m allowed to have this opinion.
There are hundreds of thousands of moviegoers out there who have likes and dislikes and certain preferences in terms of depictions of sexual behavior. I tend to be a less-is-more type of guy. Last Tango in Paris-styled suggestion rather than graphic depiction. If I don’t have an interest in watching nothing-left-to-your-imagination depictions of this or that kind of plunging oil-derrick sex, straight or gay, I’m allowed to verbally express this. Tough shit if you don’t like it.