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USA, English, 85 mins

  • Director: Yen Tan
  • Writer: Hutch; Yen Tan
  • Producer: Ash Christian; Stacey Davis

CGiii Comment

A gentle, dignified, understated heartbreak...

Step back...away from the millennial demands for gender neutral toilets and silly pronouns [ze indeed!]...and, remember those who went before and those who lost their lives...those pronouns and loos simply pale into insignificance...

The millennial generation will be remembered for their hyper-sensitivity, the generation before...the survivors, carry their grief [still] with a relief that those - utterly terrifying - days are over. A generation who will be remembered for their decimation, their resilience...and, their fight!

In 1985, The Normal Heart opened in New York, starring Brad Davis, HIV+ at the time and died in 1991...the world was wakening up to AIDS...there was the first antibody test, Ronald Reagan mentions AIDS for the first time, AmFAR was founded...and, Rock Hudson died, thousands of people died. Not exactly the calm before the storm...but, things were going to get a whole lot worse before the light at the end of the tunnel appeared.

Yen Tan's 1985 captures a moment...in smalltown, bible-belted America, away from the bustle and bluster of the big city lights...this is a reluctant [but necessary] homecoming. This is the 'goodbye' you never want to hear...nor, say.

As with all homecomings, the past is dredged up, the present is scrutinised and the future can only be imagined...the only thing is...Adrian Lester knows his future...and, with a brave face, he goes around putting his house in order, righting wrongs...trying to appease and please...against a backdrop of religious intolerance. It sounds harrowing...but, Yen Tan delivers his story with a delicacy...that leaves everything unsaid...said.

The black-and-white lends well to the fragility of the situation and - for those of a certain age - introduces a wave of nostalgia...as faraway as those days may seem, they aren't that faraway at all. Be prepared, [painful and pleasant] memories will flood back...bringing you to the edge of tears.

What will tip you over...the brothers.There's a monologue, a brothers' hand-me-down of advice...for young Andrew represents the future that Adrian will never have. It's earth-shattering. It's beautiful. The tears will run freely...

This is a film for a certain generation...a generation who should be applauded by those younger. This is a film that deals with the biggest issue of all: Life. Knowing the circumstances of how you will die is [terrifyingly] unimaginable...yet millions have done and will do it...whether it be with dignity or abandon. It kind of puts everything into a credible perspective. 1985 provides food for thought...when it comes to the bigger picture, loos and pronouns are mere trifling inconsequencies.

A staggering, dignified film. Thank you Mr Tan.


The(ir) Blurb...

Based on the short film on the same name.

The feature film is already casting, with Cory Michael Smith, best known as Edward Nygma/The Riddler in TV’s Gotham, set to star. The plot with also slightly shifts, with (via NewNowNext) ‘Adrian (Smith) visiting his estranged family in Texas to tell them that he has AIDS. Michael Chiklis and Virginia Madsen play Smith’s conservative parents, with Stranger Things’ Noah Schnapp co-starring as his pre-teen brother and Jamie Chung (Big Hero 6) playing a former flame.’

Cast & Characters

Cory Michael Smith as Adrian Lester
Ryan Piers Williams as Marc Peterson
Aidan Langford as Andrew Lester
Michael Chiklis as Dale Lester
Jamie Chung as Carly
Virginia Madsen as Eileen
Bryan Massey as Pastor Jon
Tina Parker as Cashier
Alex Nicole McConnell as Airport Traveler / Church Goer
Marcus DeAnda as Slow Dancer
David Opegbemi as Diner Patron
Bill Heck as Slow Dancer
Benjamin Hull as Airport Traveler
Stan Taylor as Dance club patron
Antonio Drake as Brandon

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