Bedrooms and Hallways
Musical BedsBy Fred Choi
ASSOCIATE ARTS EDITOR
Directed by Rose Troche
Written by Robert Farrar
With Kevin McKidd, Tom Hollander, James Purefroy, Jennifer Ehle, and Hugo Weaving
Bedrooms and Hallways starts off with what appears to be a typical gay-boy-meets-straight-boy story, but when we find out that the straight boy isn’t as straight as he originally seems, we realize that we are no longer in the world of absolutes, and that anything can happen.
Leo (Kevin McKidd, Trainspotting), a late-twenty-something homosexual, is dragged to a New Age men’s group by his straight friend, where they explore their masculinity and find healing in sharing their feelings and holding icons such as the harpoon or the “stone of truth.” It is there where he meets the apparently straight Irishman Brendan (James Purefroy). Around the same time, his flatmate Darren (Tom Hollander) begins a relationship with a real estate agent who enjoys making out in the opulent houses of his clients. In a wonderfully surreal scene, Leo falls asleep while reading a Jane Austen story and dreams that he’s the butler in a Victorian house occupied by his friends dressed as Rocky Horror extras, and that Brendan, posing as a vampire-ish Mr. Darcy, orders him to the stables for his daily “whipping.”
It’s because of the skill of director Rose Troche (Go Fish) that the strange combination of quirky and predictable plot elements scripted by writer Robert Farrar is, for the most part, convincing and keeps the action interesting. Troche presents a humorous slice of life that investigates the fuzzy boundaries of sexual orientation without the heavy-handedness of Kevin Smith’s earnest but off-center attempt, Chasing Amy. At the same time she also makes the most of the tangential but highly entertaining divergences of the script, such as the hilarious moment when a wife, having just had sex with her husband, declares to him, “My God! I’m glad to be a woman!” but quickly adds, “but not because of you, because of me.”
Despite superb direction and the amazingly vivid characterization of the entire cast, particularly Hollander as the tastefully flamboyant Darren, the script somewhat fails to really delve into its exploration of sexuality. Also, the movie is so packed with humor that it’s unable to take itself seriously during its emotional points, causing it to fall short of fulfilling its potential to be really moving.
Bedrooms and Hallways was a well-received part of the Museum of Fine Arts Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. For those who missed it then, you can still catch the flick at the Provincetown International Film Festival (June 18 at the New Arts Cinema, Provincetown, call (508) 487-922 for more information), or you can see some of the other films that are part of the MFA Festival during its last 3 days, tonight through Sunday (call (617) 369-3770 for details).