ByPaul Donovan, writer at
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at
Paul Donovan

Damn. A movie that cuts right to the heart of love, infatuation, loyalty... and lies.

1. This bittersweet (but mostly bitter) drama contains one of Robin Williams's best performances ever. It is also the last movie Williams made before he killed himself.

2. Williams plays a guy named Nolan, who has been married to his wife Joy for about 30 years. But their marriage is empty and loveless (they even sleep in separate rooms). While driving home one evening, on an apparent whim, Nolan makes a U-turn on a street and looks at some street prostitutes. He meets a young male hooker named Leo.

3. Leo awakens some long-dormant feelings in Nolan, and Nolan becomes totally infatuated with Leo. Nolan doesn't need sex from Leo, but does need to be around him. Nolan doesn't really understand what it means to fall in love with a prostitute. But he does eventually understand what it means to his marriage.

4. Williams is such an incredible actor, that you can actually feel the ache in Nolan's heart. With a slight twitch of a facial muscle, a brief squint of the eyes, you understand exactly what he's thinking.

5. Roberto Aguire plays Leo. This is only Aguire's second movie, but it's an impressive performance, especially considering most of his scenes are with Robin Williams. Aguire really understands the tough vulnerability and hypnotic sadness of street hustlers. He's a beautiful man made even more beautiful because he's watching his life dreams crumble in front of him.

6. Nolan tries to save Leo from the streets, and this becomes a mirror image of Nolan's struggle to save himself. Both Nolan and Leo are unable to be emotionally available to the people that need them.

7. Those hoping for a Disney ending will be disappointed. This is not a fairy tale, not a new version of "Pretty Woman". On the other hand, this isn't a melodramatic Shakespearean tragedy. This is real life.

8. This movie is probably the most sensitive, realistic portrayal of this subject matter I've seen. It illustrates perfectly that sexual orientation - whether gay or straight -is not about sex. People that think it's all about the genitals are doing it wrong.

9. This movie is a restrained emotional catastrophe. It demonstrates the fact that if you want to find hope in life, you must sometimes destroy everything first. And even then, hope isn't guaranteed.

(note: this movie haunts me because of how close it was to Williams's death, and I can't help but wonder how much of his pain was being acted, and how much he was legitimately showing, even if it came from a different cause).

What did you think? Was the chemistry between Williams and Aguire right? Was there anything you could relate to? Add some points below!


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