Monday, 9 February 2015

My Take on 'Our Sons' (1991)

I am starting this post knowing I will be finishing another day. "Why?" you may ask.

I intend tonight to watch a Julie Andrews/Hugh Grant film called 'Our Sons' (1991), which I'd never seen before and only recently noticed in his very long filmography, whereupon I just had to buy it for my collection.

So anyways, I am here now to say what I think I expect out of the film, and returning on another day to state what actually was the outcome of my viewing.

Since the film stars Julie Andrews, one very big star in my opinion, I am hoping it is a good interpretation. I am already dreading the topic, however, since the story apparently deals with two gay young men who are in love (one of which is played by Hugh) and who are, if I got it right, both dying of AIDS. Which reminds me of Simon Callow, in an interview about 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' that happened ten years after the film had come out, in which he says how lovely it was of the film to feature a gay person who dies of something other than AIDS and commenting that most films seem to always attribute AIDS and death to gay characters in scripts. Well, it seems like this is one of them. Let's hope that Hugh's usually soft persona turns out credible in the role as I am afraid I might be in for a stereotypical script here. Am off now as otherwise can't be back with the verdict and to continue this post.
I am now back having seen the film. So first off, the plot. I seem to have been mistaken about the fact that both the 'boys' in the story are AIDS victims. One of them - Donald (Zeliko Ivanek) - is on his death bed suffering from lung cancer brought about, I understand, by his vulnerable health due to AIDS. His partner James (Hugh Grant), however, whilst caring for him to the end with a tender care that is quite touching, has no idea whether he too is HIV positive, simply because he's too terrified to get tested. The story revolves around how the two very different mothers of the sons take not only this difficult news but also come to terms with accepting their children, just as they are, and not loving them less for it. As I said earlier this was filmed right at the turn into the nineties and hopefully nowadays this kind of scenario might be less frequent though I am sure that many parents still find it difficult to accept reality when it veers off the course they expect it to take.
After having viewed the film, I am now in a better position to comment on Simon Callow's viewpoint on the matter of associating gays with AIDS in most films of the time. Callow is right in thinking it can't be the only thing to attribute to homosexual people, who in my opinion despite being in a minority should still have lives as full and full of love as other people regardless. However I understand also where the film is coming from. If I understood right, the story is inspired by a documentary called 'Too Little, Too Late' and is a project in awareness (I don't mean of HIV contraction but rather of people's perception and time lost in tiffs and squabbles between parents and children about the subject).

Considering we are talking about a film shot twenty-five years ago I would consider it very well-made (and the acting is very good - to be honest given Hugh's self-deprecation at his more serious acting I was amazed at his flawless performance here and I am not talking from a fan point of view as much as an analytical one).
This one was a film shot for TV and never made it to the cinemas, so that might partly explain why there is so little info about it, even on Wikipedia. However for those that want a more formal synopsis than the one I provided, here's the IMDB link:
I concede this is not something to watch over and over (though personally I might just do that for the sake of Grant's spot-on acting) but unless you're the kind to shy away from anything that is too true to life's hardships I do suggest grabbing this one from your rental shop. If like me, you are a mother, you're going to be a better mum for the watching.

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