Weekend (2011)

Film Reviews — By on November 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I have heard nothing but positive things about this film and while I don’t disagree with them, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it is one of the highlights in British film this year, which many people have claimed. Weekend tells the story of Russell (Tom Cullen), an introverted lifeguard at a public swimming pool, who, on a spontaneous visit to a gay club on his own, meets extrovert Glen (Chris New). As you can guess from the title, we see the weekend they spend together, getting to know each other and slowly falling in love. They chat about first impressions and their first sexual encounter with each other for an art project of Glen’s which initiates an intimate bond between them. As the weekend unfolds they share more of themselves with each other and it becomes a pivotal moment in both their lives.

The naturalist style works well, the acting and dialogue truly believable and realistic. At times it feels like a documentary rather than a fiction film and this allows you to become completely absorbed in the story. The chemistry between the two leads is commendable and the film beautifully observes the smaller moments in life, a very real depiction of how we interact with new people. There are subtle awkward moments that are captivating and we gradually get to know each of the characters as they are finding out about each other.

Weekend is an enjoyable enough film but I was not really charmed by it and I found it rather underwhelming. I don’t think I ever really cared enough about the characters, not finding them likeable or dislikeable. What kept me going was the intrigue in how this story would pan out and I did like the ending, which doesn’t conform to stereotypical love story conclusions. This is definitely not a stereotypical love story either, it is subtle and slow and very real.

The fact the two main characters are gay is not really worth mentioning, it is just about two average individuals getting to know each other and they happen to be gay. There are a few homosexual issues raised, such as ‘coming out’, which begins to address the challenges of being gay in today’s society, but these never dominate the film, they just happen to be what the characters talk about.

The film is beautifully shot with some gorgeous lingering shots of the urban location but this wasn’t quite enough. Weekend is a good film but I did not think it was a great film. The acting is flawless but I never became really attached to the characters like you are supposed to. The natural and believable style may make it feel authentic but it wasn’t enough to really impress me and make it memorable. A nice, subtle film but I was not enchanted by it.

Director: Andrew Haigh
Writer: Andrew Haigh
Cast: Tom Cullen, Chris New, Laura Freeman
Runtime: 97 mins
Country: UK

Film Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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