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Love and Death on Long Island (1997)

Cast: John Hurt, John Hurt, Jason Priestley, more...
Director: Richard Kwietniowski, Richard Kwietniowski
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Universal Studios
Genre: Foreign, Romantic Comedy, Gay & Lesbian, UK, Features
Running Time: 94 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
    see additional details...

This title is currently out of print.

Can a stodgy intellectual who regards the 20th century as a waste of time find happiness with an American teen idol who doesn't really know him? That's the question posed in this gentle satiric comedy. Giles De'ath (John Hurt), who takes great pains to remind people that his surname is pronounced "Day-ath," is a well-regarded British author whose wife passed away a decade ago. Since then, Giles has retreated into a world of his own; he is thoroughly disinterested in contemporary culture and lives in the 20th century only to the degree that it is absolutely necessary. However, one night Giles accidentally locks himself out of his apartment just as a rainstorm has begun to open up the sky. Soaked to the skin, he takes refuge in a nearby movie theater, since he's heard that the works of E.M. Forster have lately become popular screen fodder. However, once inside the multiplex, Giles discovers to his disgust that he's accidentally bought a ticket for a low-brow teen flick called Hot Pants College II. Just as he's about to register his repugnance with the management, actor Ronnie Bostock (Jason Priestley) appears on screen, and immediately Giles is entranced. In Ronnie, Giles discovers an unexpected sort of beauty that he's never considered before, and he's eager to learn more about the young actor. However, Giles soon discerns that reading up on his new obsession means buying teen-oriented fanzines (whose covers proclaim him "Snoggable!"), where he learns that Ronnie's own cultural signposts include Axl Rose and Stephen King, whose names could just as well be Sanskrit to Giles. He also discovers that to view the rest of Ronnie's screen work, he must visit a video rental store, which means he must first purchase a VCR, and that he'll also require a (gulp!) television in order for the VCR to work. Eventually, Giles finds out that Ronnie lives in a small town on Long Island, and decides to fly there, hatching a scheme to meet Ronnie by first making the acquaintance of Audrey (Fionna Loewi), Ronnie's fashion model girlfriend. Based on the acclaimed short novel by Gilbert Adair, Love and Death on Long Island was adapted for the screen and directed by Richard Kwietniowski. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Touching sleeper by underdog August 13, 2003 - 3:37 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
I actually prefer this film to "Gods and Monsters," to which it has been inevitably compared and which received much more attention. (Not that G&M isn't good, too.) There's more driving the story here, more dramatic momentum, as it centers less on a man being lost in the past and more on a man's obsession with an unattainable future. Like G&M, this film centers on an aging gay man who falls for a younger, straight(?) guy, and like that film this boasts a superb central performance in that role: John Hurt is one of our more underrated actors and this is one of his most wonderful performances, playing what could have just been a dotty old character with great depth and wisdom. More surprising is that Jason Priestly more than holds his own, here. It's a sad story at times but just as often funny, witty. Makes me wonder what the heck happened to Richard Kwietniowski after he did this one. It's no classic by any means, but a nice little film.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.38)
50 Votes
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