| September 22, 2011

In Weekend, director Andrew Haigh gracefully yet candidly explores what happens when two people meet for the first time, become sexually intimate within hours, and eventually part ways going opposite destinations. Set in the U.K., Russell (Tom Cullen) is a reserved lifeguard that randomly picks up Glen (Chris New), an artist, in a nightclub on a Friday night, leading the audience to believe a one-night stand will be the finale. But it turns out there is a lot of chemistry and curiosity between the two.
Glen learns that Russell struggles with being open about his sexual preference because, as Glen tries to publicly display affection, Russell wants to shake hands and keep a safe distance. Russell has a straight married best friend and is godfather to his pal’s children. Furthermore, Russell depends heavily on drugs and booze to lower his inhibitions before letting his guard down to have sex. Their emotional bond intensifies over the course of the film as both exchange stories about their childhood, as Russell meets Glen’s friends, and as Glen reads Russell’s laptop journal of his sexual history. Both characters are fighting inner demons and are drawn together in their collective struggle.
Weekend is both dark and luminous. It transcends its subject matter and serves as a movie about the human experience to push out of passivity and into strength. Actors Tom Cullen and Chris New delivered capturing performances and served as a convincing pair. Weekend won the Audience Award (Emerging Visions) at this year’s SXSW Festival and the Jury Prize at this year’s Outfest.

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