Wednesday, April 27, 2016
'What We Have' DVD: A Gay French Connection with Northern Exposure
tla releasing, which is the international art house division of LGBT film giant tla video, shows its sensitive side regarding the recent DVD release of the 2014 Canadian drama "What We Have." This combination coming-to-terms and coming-of-age film is relatable on both or either level to most gay men.
"Have" further follows the formula of indie gay films in that the depth of the film has an inverse relationship with the degree of sexual content. In this case, the aptly portrayed neurotic elements far outweigh the erotic ones.
Central character Maurice is an attractive 40-something Frenchman who moves to Northern Ontario to start a new life. The baggage that this actor/French tutor brings with him includes childhood trauma (which is portrayed in grainy home-movie style flashbacks) and an inability to desire a relationship that lasts longer than one night.
Although Maurice achieves relative serenity in the forms of a job with a local theater troop and work as a tutor for shy and sweet 15 year-old Allan, his past soon comes to haunt him regarding both ventures. Latest benefits without friendship connection Michael turns out to be the manager of the theater company, and virginal in every sense Allan is hot for teacher.
Repeatedly rebuffed Michael keeps returning to the well regarding wanting a relationship partially drives the story. The more heart-wrenching (of course, pun intended) Allan story is the primary focus. This somewhat confused likable kid must deal with his relatively new attraction to other boys and his even newer and more complicated feelings towards Maurice.
The aforementioned childhood trauma helps Maurice relate to Allan. Additional sympathy comes in the form of witnessing intense humiliating cruelty that Allan suffers at the hands of his peers. The unfortunate effect of this is the deepening of the feelings of the student for the teacher.
For his part, Maurice struggles to deal with these new men in his life and with his own demons. He does deserve credit for his effort to strike the proper balance between cruel and kind.
Everyone in front of and behind the camera plays his role well. You will care about the characters and hope that he one finds that happiness that he is seeking.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Have" is encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.