An imperfect yet earnest film can capture a permanent place in our collective hearts, which explains the lasting impression of Longtime Companion. Both lauded and lambasted at its 1990 release as an attempt to humanize the face of gay men with AIDS for a nervous nation, the film, written by playwright Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss), focuses on the lives of mostly white Manhattanites as they journey through the unfolding horrors of the epidemic. Despite its flaws, Longtime Companion delivers a powerful emotional experience, including the scene that earned Bruce Davison an Academy Award nomination, an unabashedly tearful moment of telling a loved one that it’s okay to let go — all the while knowing that much of the world at large is indifferent to, or even glad of, his suffering. It’s a telling reminder of where we’ve been.
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