They meet at a bar, spend the night, and end up really liking each other. They make it a point to spend the rest of the weekend together, asking each other getting-to-know-you questions while making out, and get more and more excited when they realize that they might have accidentally stumbled upon a true match. Their names are Russell and Glen. Did you just hear a record scratch? Don't judge too soon, because this movie has a near-perfect script and spectacular performances.
In England, Russell is a lifeguard and Glen works at an art gallery. They are utterly normal chaps--Glen has a roommate with a big mouth and Russell is the godfather to his best friend's daughter, etc. When they meet at a gay bar and go home together on Friday night, neither one of them is ready for what the next couple of days will bring. The next morning, Glen asks Russell to participate in his latest art project by telling his tape recorder every sordid detail of the previous night. He begrudgingly complies, and by the time Glen leaves the apartment Russell finds himself sad to see Glen go. They make more plans, and spend the rest of the weekend partying and digging deep into their private lives in the sake of getting to know each other. It's Before Sunrise, only with a new equation of (Ethan Hawke - Julie Delpy)². Well, among other differences, but you get the point.
I loved everything about this movie. Remember how, at the beginning of a relationship, you would go on dates that lasted the entire day and had numerous locations? The magnetism kept you pulled together, frantic to nurture whatever the heck was happening and help it grow. No one wants to leave and break the spell, because humans benefit from company that lasts a night, but crave companionship that lasts much longer. Watching it unfold on screen is one of my Top 5 Ways to Spend 90 Minutes, especially when it's as well-written as this. Life can be random and romantic, but it's tricky to reconstruct it for a film, and writer/director Andrew Haigh knocks it out of the park without a trace of sentimentality.
Russell and Glen go through romantic peaks and dramatic valleys together, and none of it feels forced or trite. It feels precisely like real life, and I found myself excited that these two people found each other. Russell and Glen are really different, but the energy between them is palpable, and their conversations reflect it. This is where the movie really gets good: it doesn't clumsily tackle the same topic most gay films beat to death of coming out. Instead, they are both out and relating differently to the world around them. Glen talks about sexual exploits with anyone who will listen, but Russell is more private and feels more alienated from the straight majority. Together they both have valid points about how to exist in a world full of different people, and their arguments are so well-written and well-performed that they actually gave me insight into a world I know nothing about while warming my heart. These are the kind of movies that will help unite the world.