Dave's Rating:


… like a breath of fresh air …

Who's in It: Michel Blanc, Emmanuelle Béart, Sami Bouajila, Julie Depardieu, Johan Libéreau

The Basics: In 1984 Paris, a gay doctor and his platonic boy(toy)friend encounter the first wave of AIDS as the younger partner begins to develop a host of opportunistic infections. Making it all much more complicated is the fact that the dying young man has been getting it on with a homophobic, closeted police officer. In turn, that cop is married to a woman who's the gay doctor's best friend. It's not a comedy.

What's the Deal? Leave it to the French, and specifically director André Téchiné, to strip away the maudlin weepiness associated with AIDS as a movie subject and make a film where a lot of people you can barely stand suffer because of each other's selfishness. I know, it sounds like a breath of fresh air to me, too.

Who You Go for: Béart, of course. She's like the Nicole Kidman of France. She's one of their most famous actresses, beautiful, talented and goes out of her way to do daring stuff — like getting full-on naked — onscreen. Here she plays a new mom who hates her own baby, refuses to even name it and doesn't really care when it turns out that her husband's having sex with men. Of course, then it turns out that veteran actor Blanc steals the show as the grumpy gay doctor who doesn't put up with anyone's crap.

Where You May Have Seen Bouajila Before, Provided You Watch Enough Gay-Themed French Films: In 2001's Adventures of Felix, in which he played a young HIV-positive man on a weirdly goofy road trip.


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