Reel Affirmations 2003
Review by Sean Bugg
Rating: (4 out of 5)
Friday, 10/24/2003, 11:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Cecile Goldman Theater at the DCJCC
IT’S NO SURPRISE that over the years AIDS movies, as all “genre” movies do, have developed their own set of themes and clichÃ©s: the dying gay man who throws one last party; warm yet steely mother fighting for her offspring; the family split between acceptance and rejection. What is surprising is a film that can take those well-worn clichÃ©s and re-weave them into a fascinating, moving and ultimately rewarding narrative.
The Event opens with a deceased Matt Shapiro being removed from his fairly fabulous Chelsea apartment, where he has apparently committed suicide to end his intense suffering from AIDS. Small clues lead the district attorney’s office to believe a crime — assisted suicide — has taken place, and dispatches Nicole Devivo (Parker Posey) to investigate. Devivo, who has not-hard-to-determine motives of her own, pieces together the story through flashbacks of the major figures of Matt’s life, in particular his quiet, demure, yet eminently forceful mother (Olympia Dukakis).
With a number of high-level cast members the acting quality generally soars above even the more maudlin moments, although Posey seems a bit out of sorts in a straightforward, straight-laced role. Dukakis, however, delivers a knock-out as a mother willing to do whatever it takes to ease her son’s suffering: “Sometimes the only way to protect a defenseless child is to let him go back to god,” she says. Her closing lines are a gut-wrenching testament to a mother’s love — and grief.
Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!