BFI Flare 2016: Beautiful Something

B F I  F L A R E
L o n d o n  L G B T  F i l m  F e s t i v a l  2 0 1 6

"Four men’s lives intersect over the course of one long night in Philadelphia. Brian is an undisciplined poet who takes refuge from writer’s block and money troubles in sex and alcohol. Drew, an established sculptor, is frustrated by his younger boyfriend Jim’s yearning to escape. Jim, meanwhile, dreams of being an actor, so when he meets Bob, a rich businessman claiming to be an agent, opportunity seems to knock for both." BFI Flare

So far, Flare 2016 hasn't let me down. Despite some reservations over programmer Michael Blyth's all-white shorts' selections, and the fairly interminable Theo and Hugo, there hasn't been a lot to complain about. Surely we're due a bum note?

Not yet, not tonight. Writer and director Joseph Graham's Beautiful Something lives up to its name. It is gorgeous. Dreamy, hypnotic, haunting, it is without doubt a future classic. It's one of those rare pictures I immediately want to go back and watch all over again.

A film like this stands or falls on the performance of its ensemble cast (everyone is outstanding) and the likeability of its characters. And I don't mean "are they nice guys?" I mean, do we "get" them. Even though they might sometimes behave like assholes, do we still get them. In the case of Beautiful Something, the answer is yes. And like fellow festival flicks From Afar and Akron, it succeeds in rendering its location - Philadelphia - as a character.

It doesn't hurt that the cast is also seriously sexy, particularly the penetrating Colman Domingo (Selma) and porcelain doll Zack Ryan.

This is one night you won't want to end.

Every year, KAOS reports from the annual BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival. This year, I'll be reviewing twelve films (including a few programmes of shorts). Next time: Tangerine, and Departure.


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