It is a performances centric movie
Don't Believe the Hype
Through painfully honest and emotional moments, the movie becomes irresistibly relatable
I do love Charlie David but he always seems to miss his mark as he's once again done with this movie. What troubled me as soon as this movie started was the Father and Son. They both looked the same age, (I actually felt the son should have had the father role). It bothered me throughout the whole movie, who ever did the casting really jumped the shark on those. I've seen many Charlie David movies and I always end up with the feeling that he's holding something back. Once again, if they had an older father or younger son, the movie would have received more stars for a rating, Also, they characters looked a bit too old to pull off the college students.
I viewed this film last evening on Netflix. My personal opinion is that the film's general storyline is an important issue facing GLBT culture today. Given that the American public is still coming to terms with homosexuality and that homosexuality only started becoming publicly accepted within the last couple decades (maybe less), I think this film depicts an issue that occurs very often today. We are finding that, as America's perception of homosexuality has increasingly softened, older men and women who repressed their identities in their youth are slowly starting to come out and address their own sexuality issues. I think the film's desire to create a narrative of this sort is excellent. I thought their portrayal of the situation was ghastly. Part of this negative review is due to personal experience with the issues portrayed in the film and part is also a reaction to the film's poorly developed storyline.There is actually a school of psychology that has been aptly dealing with the emotional damage that's affected by the later comings-out of closeted men and women. It is a small school of thought, and probably not particularly well known or received in the greater medical community. But whatever research these groups churn out does not match with what occurs in this film. The truth is, these late revelations wreak havoc on the relationships and marriages they change, change which normally manifests as destruction. While I can appreciate the film's creators' wish to create a situation and characters sympathetic to the struggle of these men's and women's long denial of their homosexuality, it's not a particularly accurate portrayal of what normally occurs in such a situation. It also didn't give justice to the struggle that the deceived partner goes through after learning something of that magnitude. The wife's reaction, while initially convincing, dwindled to acceptance far to quickly. It didn't accurately show the length of time it normally takes for a "surprised" spouse to recover from his or her partner's lies. It also didn't adequately show the emotional turmoil. In other words, nothing in the latter half of the film was believable. I wanted to see the wife kick her husband out, drink herself into oblivion, maybe attempt a suicide, and, after a long montage, finally gain a smidgen of acceptance for what happened. The wife's complete turnaround in what appeared to be one day was just incredible.Personally, I am quite sensitive to this issue because I have friends who have been deceived in this way. I also know men and women who are living the situation of the husband in the film. Personally, I think these scenarios make a great case for augmenting public respect for and learning of homosexuality. Repression of sexuality leads to people getting deeply emotionally hurt, often scarred. I feel these kinds of stories are a good way to educate the public at large, mainly because it shows the greater harm to society as opposed to the harm that is endured exclusively by the homosexual person. But unfortunately, this film did not serve that purpose.My second gripe with this film was the bad story telling. As I said earlier, I had difficulty believing the wife's short turnaround. But also, I took issue with the lack of build-up in this film. There was relatively little interaction between the son's friend and the father. None of the interaction was really significant enough to truly warrant the turn of events that came about. It felt as if the father was actually a heterosexual, but decided he wanted to "try it out" a bit on a whim instead of finally being able to experience what he's been missing out on for years.Lastly, the script for the film was wretched. There was no subtlety or nuance that helped create the characters. Characteristics of each character was blatantly shoved in the viewers' faces and demonstrated awkwardly. The example that I found most obnoxious was the writer's wish to convey the wife as an uptight conservative. They first developed that quality through a tacky scene involving a exhibitionist young boy and his skeezey mother, and then followed that with her participation in a predictable, hackneyed dinner conversation regarding homosexuality. While I don't think the actress that portrayed the wife was particularly good in this role, I can't really blame her given that her character was so clumisily developed. This was also true of the son's character as well. The script really suffered from a very rushed development, which unfortunately probably had to do with budget concerns. While I don't fault them for that, one other review mentioned several slow-moving, overly-lengthy scenes, the house party in particular. That thing just dragged on for close to fifteen minutes, and really didn't introduce us to any new or interesting qualities in the relevant characters. It was used mostly for comedic effect. That's fine, but the film really isn't a happy, light-hearted comedy; indeed the ending is particularly tragic. It didn't fit and it took away time from scenes that should have been more fully developed, particularly the growing interest between the friend and father, and the wife's emotional trauma. All in all, it case across as something written by a beginning film student.So yes, while I think the message is important and worthwhile, this film bungled it and really did a bad treatment of the material. None of the characters' situations were believable, nor did the script allow the actors to truly develop their characters. One good thing about the film was the cinematography. There were some really beautiful shots and settings, the lake in particular. The scene with the wife sobbing at a patio table towards the end was quite breath-takingly beautiful. But none of these positives made watching the film worth it. There are better films out there that address this issue and I would suggest looking to those. Thanks!
........no, wait.......actually it was more of an admonishment to Charlie----arising from having read / viewed teasers and trailers of this already released film and my concerns over how the "final outcome" for older male character, 'Nathan,' would be handled (can read my comments about this, and a comment to Charlie, on the appropriate boards here at IMDb.com).To continue, I am most happy to report the above expressed concerns were baseless, and Charlie's writing fulfilled every hope I had for the handling of 'Nathan's' future life. He was, after all, to have his second chance. Read on now to learn other of my impressions of this film.As to the overall theme / tenor of this production, it is NOT a romance film......or love story. Instead it is a "lesson" film.....a finding one's self film.....a coming to accept one's self film. More, it is as much about young friendship lost and regained as it is about finding / admitting who you are.....but with the latter subject being particularly well-handled (in fact David's writing approach could serve as a model of its kind). Continuing, here are some points of the film which strike me:Charlie's 'Chase', was the precipitator, the enabler.....the cause of Nathan's "disinterment," if you will. Yes, Chase was the driving force behind Nathan's new journey of discovery and the older man's way-out-of-the-closet. Yet at no time did Chase ever come across as being "in love."Lotsa likes + 1 DISlike: My only fast-forward when watching this DVD is a too long / distracting party scene (like 100s in other movies/TV), taking time that could be better spent on the 'Chase - Nathan' relationship (sadly, only a mere 14 of the 92 minutes in this film has them in one-on-one scenes). If any of we romantics out here are disappointed over film's end handling of the "Chase / Nathan relationship," perhaps we only need realize that, truth be told, 'Nathan' does not need another son (think age of these parties). Instead, what we can hope is that his new journey will find him a loving someone who is both sure and settled in as to who he is---in other words, an "experienced" guide for our 'Nathan.' And I think that Charlie's film-end writing, which shows us 'Nathan' venturing out alone in his car, beginning his further search for himself, is all the indication we need, not just of this story's end, but its beginnings).As far as this movie lover's overall impression of individual acting performances, just let me say:Charlie David (sexy as hell): Although having played in film for a time now, for some reason he comes across as being something of a "newbie".....leaving me a sense of his not being able to completely settle into a role (thought I saw the same thing in "Dante's Cove" series). Maybe there are too many expectations to be faced when writing and acting in one's own movie. On the other hand, I must acknowledge he may have adopted this approach to put across the obvious discomfort we'd expect he might be experiencing when thrown into the unfamiliar and seemingly tight and loving Davidson family scene. I do think he has a lot of growth potential.Dan Payne: All I can say is Wow!! What a moving performance from someone put into the most difficult of storyline situations----yet with what perfect ease he delivers to us. He makes 'Nathan' come vividly alive in the most heartrending and confused manner. As a viewer you want to comfort him in your arms. And, oh, those eyes (NO one else in the bizness has THOSE dark, liquid eyes). I'm drowning.....I'm drown..... DOn't save me.....don't sav..... Now, snapping myself back into awareness, I'll simply have to admit that I'm unduly influenced by this beautiful man's appearance and exciting sexuality. He's got "it".....and without even having to resort to a "Charlie David shower scene." Thea Gill: Interesting to me that this particular actress was chosen to play a wife finding herself in this type situation. Because of her many past gay-friendly works, would she be able to effectively display the expected reactions of someone forced into her position of discovery? In your opinion, did she? Oh, and what appeared to me to be her initial over the top reactions to things "gay," I later came to realize was her character being set up for what lay ahead. So in the end, she surprises the heck out of us by the acceptance she brings herself to be able to express (and dare I even mention that "big bomb" of awareness she holds in her head about a certain someone's lifelong feelings---a bomb she unexpectedly unleashes on us----whoa!).Derek Baynham (Tyler) & Grace Vukovic (Birdy): One a lot of fun and one cute as a button. No, actually two a lot of fun and two cute as a button. Tyler's big brother to little sister, Birdy, was about the only "fun part" of this otherwise serious movie. But when the two of them, separately or together, got it going, they really made us feel better, didn't they? It's easy to see that Mr. Baynham (a little bit wild and bit of a riot) can be expected to show up more in future. And as far as what lies ahead for Gracey, all I can say is: move over, Abigail Breslin ("Definitely, Maybe" / "Nim's Island"), somebody else is ready to step in.PS--As a lover of DVD Bonus Feature, voice-over Commentaries, I was disappointed at more time joking around (Baynham, particularly), less on plot point explanations and emotional difficulties arising in shooting various scenes (more control, Mr. Director). ****
I got the opportunity to see this film on Friday night, at Outfest in LA. This was a very character driven film, and it left myself and my friends talking for the rest of the weekend. In fact we've co-opted some of the phrases into our own vernacular. Without giving anything away 'Go Steelers!' and 'Golf, Golf, Golf, Balls, Balls, Balls' if I heard them once, I've heard them a thousand times. I have to say, for me, I was very happy the sex was kept to a minimum. Often the sex scenes become too long, and distract folks from the story. In Mulligans there is sex, but it's not gratuitous. Thank goodness.The central characters are very deep and complex, the issues are not so black and white. More importantly, the resolutions are not so cut and dry. If this was the writer's first story, I look forward to seeing what else he has up his sleeve. Most of the cast were relatively unknown, at least to me, but I want to see more from all of them. Actors act, and there careers should span a body of different types of work. For those familiar faces, this was a great change of pace. For the folks I didn't know, I look forward to seeing where their careers will go.So if you're in the mood to watch a well written, character driven story, that just has a splash of Gay in it check out 'Mulligans'.