Thursday, April 12, 2012

Longtime Companion

Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia is frequently dubbed the first film to showcase the debilitating disease that is AIDS. In reality, Norman Rene beat Demme to the punch three years earlier with his film Longtime Companion.

Bear in mind this was made when people were still learning about the disease. That factor is most definitely felt throughout the film. People were careful of what they did, whether it be for them or in regards for those possibly stricken with the disease. There are many moments like those, all of them hitting close to the heart.

All of the actors play their parts well, especially Bruce Davison, who was rewarded with an Oscar nomination. For my money, the standout actor of Longtime Companion was Campbell Scott. He witnesses many of his friends succumbing to the "gay cancer", but he manages to pull through. There's a striking moment where he's scrubbing himself fiercely after getting kissed on the neck by his hospitalized friend. The scene captures not only the mood of the film but also the whole time period of AIDS' discovery.

What makes Longtime Companion completely different from Philadelphia is that it's, pun not intended, more open in regards to the characters' sexuality. Philadelphia refers to it in only a few crucial scenes; Longtime Companion brings it up every chance it gets. That's not a bad thing at all, mind you.

This is such a devastating film. Most other films usually overdo it when it comes to life-threatening diseases, but most definitely not Longtime Companion. Do yourself a favor and watch this instead of Philadelphia.

My Rating: *****


  1. I've honestly never heard of this until now. Needless to say I immediately put it in my instant queue. Great review!

  2. I just recently watched this for my Campbell Scott write-up and I absolutely loved it. Scott and the rest of the cast were incredible. That end scene on the beach? Wow.

    But I most say, if we're comparing, I think Philadelphia is a far superior film. Both great flicks though.


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