Hailed as the first mainstream film to put a human face on the AIDS epidemic, Longtime Companion is a "remarkable" (Newsweek) drama that takes an honest, unflinching look at how this devastating disease changes everyone it... more » touches. "Intelligent, unflinching and unpatronizing" (Boxoffice), and starring a "terrific ensemble cast" (Time), including Oscar┬(r) nominee* and Golden Globe winner** Bruce Davison, Campbell Scott, Dermot Mulroney and Mary-Louise Parker,this heartrending yet triumphant film "is an illuminating, deeply moving experience" (Los Angeles Times). During the summer of 1981, a group of friends in New York are completely unprepared for the onslaught of AIDS. What starts as a rumor about a mysterious "gay cancer" soon turns into a major crisis as, one by one, some of the friends begin to fall ill, leaving the others to panic about who will be next. As death takes its toll, the lives of these friends are forever redefinedby an unconditional display, of love, hope and courage. *1990: Supporting Actor, Longtime Companion **1990: Supporting Actor, Longtime Companion« less
David G. Smith | Fairfax, CA United States | 02/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a playwright, a straight forty two year old teacher who writes a lot of pieces about homophobia and aids for my high school students. I must believe that this film, and the play Our Town are the two most influential pieces in my writing life...This probably shouldn't matter to you but it matters to me. Many of my friends think there are better films...but this is such a beautiful work . The acting in it, Bruce Davidson, Mark Lamos, Stephen Caffrey, Mary Louise Parker,....so miraculous, so rich. The movies is heartbreakingly sad, the plague in human terms, but at times, extremely funny. The string quartet of ymca is quite amazing. And I won't give away the last scenes...but...for me, they some very influential sentiments and concepts. I can't praise this thing enough."
Truly great film! The "Dark Victory" of gay films!
Get What We Give | Georgia | 10/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bette Davis may still be making gay men weep when she dies in Dark Victory, but this does the same thing only with the "gay man" in the lead.The acting in this film is superb (Bruce Davidson was nominated for an Oscar). The script is excellent. The story, sadly, is all too memorable, historical, believable, and true to life. This is a film that makes you laugh, makes you cry, and then stomps on your heart for good measure.I was just coming out when the first whispered rumors of GRID first hit the streets. I was in Atlanta and the word came from NY. We knew it could never reach us. How wrong we were!This film takes me back to those first carefree days of my "out" life and then walks me back through an accurate account of my life thereafter historically. I am fortunate. I never got HIV or AIDS, but I lost many many friends who did. Every time I watch this film, the last scene makes me bawl my eyes out, remembering the wonderful friends I've lost to this horrible disease.Watch this film and take it to heart that there is something to fear in having unprotected sex! Mandatory for young gay men and recommended for parents of the same, so they can support their gay sons."
Brilliant handling of a subject few understand.
C. K. Ogi | NW MO USA | 03/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had seen Longtime Companion in it's first release, and, ironically, have received it as part of my home collection from a friend who passed from the disease.My assessment of a great film is that it makes you relate to a world that is completely foreign to you. Being a straight woman with a circle of gay, male friends, this was not a subject I was unfamilliar with. I have, however, screened this film for several friends who weren't so familliar with gay culture and the issues that surround it. They were astounded at how powerfully this film conveyed the lifestyle and terror in a way that never bordered on melodrama.There are two scenes that are gripping, one of which comes near the end and I won't destroy it's intent by revealing it here. The first scene that will just leave you numb is Bruce Davison's character at his lover's side urging him to 'just rest,' as he essentially begs him to die. It is quietly and poigniantly stoic and will break your heart. Davison's Oscar nod for this performance was WELL deserved.This is a movie that requires an open mind, but if you are looking for a film that will give you an enlightening view of a lifestyle you don't live, this is a great film for you and will not disappoint."
Social document recalls dark chapter in gay history
Libretio | 11/14/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
(USA - 1990)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 Theatrical soundtrack: Mono
Initially conceived as a response to Hollywood's hypocritical reluctance to depict the AIDS crisis within mainstream cinema, LONGTIME COMPANION limped into production in 1989 on half the projected $3 million budget, generously donated by producer Lindsay Law and the American Playhouse company, only to face another uphill struggle as soon as the movie was completed. Until the Samuel Goldwyn company bought worldwide distribution rights (somewhat reluctantly, it must be said), most mainstream and independent distributors were disinclined to tackle a movie which concentrates exclusively on the devastating effects of AIDS on a group of middle-class gay men from the years 1981 to 1988. Apparently, it's OK if the drama involves a cute kid who was accidentally infected by a tainted blood transfusion, or if it features a teary-eyed heterosexual mom who inadvertently 'contaminates' her big butch heterosexual husband, but not if it's about a bunch of (gays). Aware of this sickening double standard, writer Craig Lucas and debut director Norman René held back on the explicit love scenes and aimed their film at the widest possible audience.
That it still works is due in large part to a fantastic ensemble cast headlined by Bruce Davison as the 'mother hen' figure who holds court over a disparate group of writers, actors, businessmen, and their various friends and associates. Davison was Oscar-nominated for his strong performance, though he's matched every step of the way by Campbell Scott (son of George C.) as a young man who struggles desperately to hide from the reality of the horrors around him after his best friend (Dermot Mulroney) becomes one of the first casualties. Beefcake is provided by Patrick Cassidy and John Dossett as a loving couple whose lives are torn apart by the disease, while Mary-Louise Parker portrays one of the few straight characters in the group, a woman whose life revolves around her dwindling circle of gay friends.
Lucas' insightful script uses these characters to describe the progressive response of the gay community to the unfolding crisis, from the casual dismissals which greeted the first reports of a 'gay cancer' which appeared in 1981, through to the fear and confusion which descended as the disease began to dominate daily life. Hope breeds a certain amount of naivety in some of the early scenes (one character's philosophy is basically 'think happy thoughts and everything will be fine'), until the threat is finally absorbed and accepted, culminating in militant action against an ultra-conservative Establishment which seems determined to ignore the unfolding situation.
Lip service is paid to some of the important social issues which arose from the AIDS epidemic, but the film refuses to become sidelined by politics - Reagan is mentioned but not criticized, and there's a brief tirade against a health care system which seems more concerned with insurance than patient welfare - and instead focusses its attentions on people whose lives are ravaged by circumstances beyond their control. Director René, who had worked almost exclusively in theatre beforehand, is reluctant to allow sentiment to prevail, to the point where even the heaviest scenes are almost drained of genuine emotion, and some of the many dialogue exchanges which make up the bulk of the film should have been tightened during the editing process. But the cast breathes life into a broad range of recognizable characters, and the film survives primarily as an invaluable record of a dark chapter in gay history.
If the drama seems a little dated by subsequent advances in the treatment of HIV and AIDS, and if the subject no longer commands the same level of attention which existed when the movie first opened, its educational value remains intact. One gets the sense from this kind of movie that, even when a cure is eventually found, very little will change in the short term. Too many wonderful people have died and taken all their priceless ideosyncracies with them to the grave, and too many others have lost precious companions and loved ones for the sudden discovery of a cure to make much of a difference. But when future generations are finally released from the tyranny of AIDS, movies like LONGTIME COMPANION will always be there to remind them of a time when the world wasn't such a carefree place, and when the kindness and compassion of devoted friends was no guarantee of immunity from loss and devastation. "
Groundbreaking movie about AIDS
klavierspiel | TX, USA | 04/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a serious attempt to dramatize the AIDS crisis by showing its impact on a small group of friends, "Longtime Companion" holds up well. The limitations evident when the movie debuted are still there: yes, the men (with the obligatory wise-cracking straight female friend) are all rich yuppies, and they're all white. They seem to exist on their own without any family members--though perhaps this is realistic; many gays and lesbians are indeed estranged from close relatives. More seriously, the omission of the latest news available then about the HIV virus and how safer sex could reduce transmission makes the health picture appear more dark than it in fact was, even in 1990.Ultimately none of this lessens the emotional impact of the intertwined stories of these characters, due to a quality script and superb acting. There are scenes that overwhelm even now with their power and truth, notably that of Bruce Davison gently helping his lover Mark Lamos let go of life, and the conclusion, that slips momentarily into fantasy in a most moving way. The promiscuous gay lifestyle is given its due, but so are stable, long-term relationships. One wonders why the careers of actors such as Campbell Scott and Dermot Mulroney have not taken off further than they have--hopefully it's not because they had the artistic courage to portray open, fully-rounded and attractive gay men. "Longtime Companion" still stands out as a carefully produced, well-written and non-judgmental portrayal of people coping with one of the darkest periods of modern American history."