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Man in an Orange Shirt

UK, English, 120 mins

  • Director: Michael Samuels
  • Writer: Patrick Gale
  • Producer: Diederick Santer

CGiii Comment

Two stories tenuously linked...by autobiographical threads...

Act 1: 

A richly-woven, beautiful and agonising, WW2 love story...that gently unfurls and will crack the hardest of hearts. There is a delicacy to this collision of lives and loves...that is, until the wife-of-convenience finds out! Sparks fly...as paths are dictated rather than chosen...

If only Patrick Gale had stuck to this time period throughout...rather than jumping a generation to contemporary London...quite bamboozling!

Act 2:

Can we forget that this threadbare, over-worked 'act' exists?!?

A 35 year old, privileged, veterinarian, living for free in his Grandma's luxurious basement - in one of the better postal codes that London has to offer...gets gifted a cottage in one of the better counties that England has to offer...and yet, he still moans and [literally] scrubs his homosexual shame away!

But...that guilt and shame doesn't stop him from shagging everything that a gayApp has to offer!

At no point is this character remotely believable...neither is his sidekick...who utters lines like: I want you - and, duly explains - that being 100% exclusive - he can't share his [new] lover with any of his gayApp hook-ups...even though he's just come out of an 'open relationship' with an older, wealthy man - who just happens to be an art dealer - crucial for the story's [contrived] conclusion!

This quagmire of moaning, middle-class homosexuality is Patrick Gale's tired trademark...it bears no relevance - for the vast majority - in the here and now.

Have things not improved for 'the homosexual' in light of the [partial] decriminalisation way back in 1967? Not according to this! This kind of states that gay men were happier then...than gay men are now! Quite bamboozling! Or, a worrying reflection on the times!

As the show-piece production for the BBC's Gay Britannia series...expectations ran high...and, Act 1 delivered. Can we just forget that Act 2 exists?!?


The(ir) Blurb...

“Two love stories, sixty years apart, chart the challenges and huge change to gay lives from the Second World War to the present: In 1944, British Army Captain Michael Berryman (Cohen) meets war artist Thomas March (McArdle) in Southern Italy while chaos reigns all around them.

“Despite having a young fiancé, Flora (Vanderham), waiting at home for him, straight-laced Michael finds himself falling for Thomas’ bohemian charms.

“In 2017, an ageing Flora (Redgrave) looks on as her grandson, Adam (Morris), tentatively forms a relationship with his client Steve (Gyasi) in a more accepting world.

“But while the external obstacles have fallen away, a minefield of internalised issues and dangerous temptations still line the road to happiness.”

Cast & Characters

Julian Morris as Adam;
Vanessa Redgrave as Flora;
David Gyasi as Steve;
Tommy Bastow as Bates;
Phil Dunster as Bruno;
Babajide Fado as Lorry Driver;
James McArdle as Thomas March;
Mark Sears as Muscled Man;
Arthur Wilde as Bar patron

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