Review by Tim Plant
Rating: (2 out of 5)
Saturday, 10/15/2011, 6:45 PM
Feature presentation, $12 at Globe Theatre
IF THE GREEN were actually the Lifetime movie it strives to be, the title would be The Green: When Bad Things Happen to Gay People.
Michael (Jason Butler Harner) and Daniel (Cheyenne Jackson) have left the big city to settle in picturesque Connecticut so that Michael can work on a novel while Daniel runs a café. Michael also teaches at a private school, where the attention paid to a troubled teen doesn’t go unnoticed. But is the scuttlebutt true or are bored Connecticut housewives just talking? It doesn’t really matter because when rumors become accusations, everyone, even his partner of 15 years, starts to question Michael.
Director Steven Williford and writer Paul Marcarelli co-created the story, which is fraught with melodrama and laced with rudimentary metaphors. For example, the couple’s house is plagued by structural damage and threatened by a storm that’s forecast to hit Connecticut. It sounds like a device one of Michael’s high school students would use in a creative writing homework assignment.
Harner’s performance is adequate, though most of the time he’s required to do little more than mope. His one soul-baring monologue is so awkwardly written that it would be overly wrought even without the background thunder and lightening. Jackson, recently seen on Glee, uses many of the same sneers and lip curls in The Green, but this one note cracks here. As their lesbian lawyer, Julia Ormond ensures her character is the most likable, and Illeana Douglas adds her typical flair.
Midway through the film a minor character, who promptly disappears, actually gives away the already apparent ending. Perhaps that’s why the filmmakers feel the need to take an already strained story one step further, past the point of any level of believability.
Williford and Marcarelli could have told a stronger story if they had examined more deeply the toll the accusation takes on the couple, but they don’t get off the soapbox long enough to do so. Instead they dilute the film’s possible impact as a character and relationship study by focusing on how judgmental a small town can be toward people who are different. Which, while Connecticut is the perfect setting for this purpose, turns the film into something that’s been done – better – many times before.