Another Dysfunctional Family Ramifications Film
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"CRUTCH is a film you want to like: it feels honest, from the heart of the autobiography of writer/director/producer/actor Rob Moretti, and it aims to deliver a statement about the dangers of drug abuse and how to conquer it. The problems with this film are 1) it all has been said and shown before, 2) the camera work and editing are so inconsistent that they become intrusive, and 3) the actors selected to enact this downfall film are pretty much folks with good intentions but little finesse. Obviously made on a very low budget with a group of people who appear committed to the project, it has everything we could want from an Indie except polish.
David (Eben Gordon - unfortunately not resembling a 16-year-old boy he is supposed to be) is trying to hold together his fragile family of adulterous father Jack (James Early), an alcoholic self-destructive mother Katie (Juanita Walsh), and brother and sister. Jack leaves the family for his paramour, Maryann is hospitalized for rehab after an injurious fall, the other siblings are copeless, and David attempts to escape reality by joining an acting class. The acting teacher Kenny (Rob Moretti), accompanied by his close friend and confidant Maryann (Jennifer Katz), encourage David's young ability and despite wise Maryann's warnings, Kenny responds to his attraction to David.
Out of need for order in his life David opens up his sexuality and becomes bonded with Kenny. Kenny's hidden drug addiction is uncovered by David and David begins to use the coke and his downfall begins. It is a love/hate relationship, David becoming the movie star Kenny's drug habit prevented. And eventually David attempts to return to his family and girlfriend only to meet with disaster until in the final moments of the film we find David in a 12-step program. The ending summarizes how each of the characters' lives stand at the present via screen statements before the credits.
As said before, the film cries to be loved but the technical aspects of its creation simply fall short of the much-needed chemistries that this inexperienced cast is unable to deliver. It may be an example of the writer losing the necessary distance from the final product by being over-extended in the making of the film. Grady Harp, June 05"
A Wonderful New Look
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 10/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Crutch" is an autobiographical film taken from the real life experiences of writer/director/star Rob Moretti. It is the coming-of-age story of a young man who faces family problems as well as substance abuse. David comes from a middle-class family which lives under the façade of perfection. However, behind that façade we see that his life is quickly falling apart. As he tries to come to terms with what is happening around him, he comes under the mysterious spell of Kenny, a very good-looking has been actor who is now a theater coach. Kenny seduces David thus hastening his fall into a well of alcohol and substance abuse. In order to survive David must find a way out of this situation and "Crutch" gives us the sad tale of the young man's confusion and the difficulties he faces in finding himself.
The movie is beautifully written and incredibly acted. David has to struggle not only with coming out but with drug addiction, alcoholism, family and love. It is honest and it is hard. There are demons in all of the characters in the movie but somehow they are ousted by goodness.
Rob Moretti as Kenny gives a bravura performance. The relationship with him as Kenny and Eben Gordon as David is very real and very strongly portrayed. The message of the dangers of drug abuse and how to conquer it is very potent. But there is another message here and that is how to struggle against overwhelming odds.
When David tries to escape the reality of what was happening in his home life---a father who cheats and leaves his mother for another woman and an alcoholic self-destructive mother--he joins an acting class. The acting teacher encourages David's participation and finds himself reacting to his attraction for the youth.
Because he needs order in his life, David opens up his sexuality and he and Kenny bond. David discovers that Kenny has a problem with drugs and David begins using cocaine and his own descent begins. The relationship turns into one of love/hate with David becoming the movie star that Kenny could not be because of his drug problem, David tries to return to his family and his girlfriend eventually but he finds disaster there. However, in the last few minutes of the movie everything changes. Before the credits roll, we learn where each of the character is at present.
The movie is a heartfelt confessional with a very strong emotional pull. It is a human movie as it tugs at the heart and brings you into a whirlpool of emotion. There are no clichés here nor are there stereotypes. We see human beings at the most raw they can be. We watch as an impressionable teenager is taken advantage of and we see their story from the very onset with flirtation to their horrible parting and we get everything in between. David, whose parents are too self-absorbed in their own problems, really needed someone with whom he could talk to and confide in. His home situation was miserable and he was going through the most emotional, confusing and important formative years of life. Kenny did not care about this--he had his own agenda--to seduce David. Little by little Kenny works on this seduction until it reaches the point that David becomes a regular visitor to his apartment where is given marijuana and a great deal of alcohol and Kenny gets his wish. Soon the two are spending a great deal of time together and getting loaded and having sex. For David this is a downward spiral. When David spends a stash of cocaine I Kenny's apartments and uses it, he has almost hit bottom.
David's life is filled with problems. Aside from his dysfunctional family, he is using both alcohol and drugs; he is confused over his sexual identity and his relationship with his teacher. He is merely a teenager and not prepared nor equipped to deal with his situation in life.
The film gives you a great deal to think about. I still have pictures in my mind of the two men. I will say that the movie is very special and is title is so correct. All of us have crutches. David's make mine look very small and inconsiderable.
The new director's cut version of the film contains over 30 minutes of bonus material including an audio commentary, a behind the scenes featurette, an interview with the director and deleted scenes. This is one of my favorite GLBT films and I think you will feel the same way.
Ian | Plainfield, NJ | 04/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wonderfully filmed, poignant story, fantastic actors. An impressive film to say the least. I hope to see it in wide release so all can enjoy. The story is a coming of age story of an endearing young man and his struggles with addiction, family, and love. Writer/Director/Actor Rob Moretti must have had a roller-coaster of a ride creating this film. It is charged with honesty, hardship, and an underlying theme of Making/Creating and fighting the Unmaking/Destroying. The demons of this film reside in each of the characters, but they are ousted by the goodness and will of those same characters. Eben Gordon is brilliant. I can't wait to see his next project. He plays David, the protagonist. His execution of character development reminds me of Edward Norton's in "American X". He goes from young and innocent to hardened and wiser within a wonderfully timed and subtle arc.
Rob Moretti impresses as David's mentor, Kenny. The relationship these two actors create is potent, real, and honest. It brings to mind the torrential joy and disaster of my first love certainly. With everything else Moretti must have dealt with on set as director/writer I find it very impressive that he and Gordon created such synergy. Most of the other actors did very well, though I would have loved to see more of Frankie Faison as Jerry. An intricate film and wonderful experience. It was very impressive."
Stereotypical Mish Mash
J. Whitney | New York | 02/26/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I could not even get all the way through this film because of the poor acting skills of the leads...To begin with the actor who plays David (Eben Gordon) looks twenty six and not sixteen and Rob Morretti (Kenny) is flat and achingly dull in the role as teacher/seducer. So much of the content was stereotypical and almost comedic such as the mom (who is a boozer) who hides her stash in the toilet tank or Kenny putting his hand on David's shoulder and uttering that old cliche "if you need someone to talk to" There are so many great gay films out there, however, this is not one of them."