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Love & Death on Long Island
Love Death on Long Island
Actors: John Hurt, Jason Priestley, Fiona Loewi, Sheila Hancock, Harvey Atkin
Director: Richard Kwietniowski
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
PG-13     2003     1hr 34min

A conservative British author finds his life changed after he travels to the U.S. to meet a struggling B-movie actor.


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Movie Details

Actors: John Hurt, Jason Priestley, Fiona Loewi, Sheila Hancock, Harvey Atkin
Director: Richard Kwietniowski
Creators: Oliver Curtis, Richard Kwietniowski, Susan Shipton, Brian Donovan, Christopher Zimmer, Steve Clark-Hall, Gilbert Adair
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Gay & Lesbian, Love & Romance
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 07/22/2003
Original Release Date: 03/06/1998
Theatrical Release Date: 03/06/1998
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 34min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Light, and deep. Profound and easy. difficult mixture to rea
GUSTAVO PRADO RGUEZ | Mexico City | 03/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"when I was a kid I went to the movies and saw 'Death in Venice'. by the time the old guy is at the beach literally melting while staring at Tadzio, I almost couldn't stop to laugh, such a clumsy scene.
Reading here all the time this is a ¿gay? movie, about and old guy with a crush for a teen star, I think the real point is missing: about the portrayal of the epiphanie bring to life by the contemplation of beauty in any form. And then quite surprisingly, the answer back, in here beauty answers, in such a way, in the middle of the road beauty and intelligence recognize each other perplexed, yet fascinated.
so the idea of something laughable is gone, even the premise when presented as an old man, with manners of an old lady going after the 'twink', thats the idea of a common place, like when somebody says here: same story about old men after a boy with a girl, etc. that is just reading the surface, not even of the movie, but of the comments in the box.

The box says is more funnier than 'full monty', the reviews that is between god and monsters and other gay movies. do not expect that, if you give the chance is farther more profound, and the same time quite simple and light.
Amazing this guy Jason never raises as a bigger Star. Hurt extraordinaire, as usual.
Both alone here, almost without any other noticeable cast, it can be seen closer to theatre than cinema."
"Death in Venice" Updated
Theodore Voelkel | Winchester, MA United States | 04/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The perfect change of venue for the "Death in Venice" thematic -- older man falls in love with younger male, only here it's a pedantic Brit writer and the boy is . . . a Hollywood pulp actor in movies like "Hotpants College II" (!) who lives on Long Island. As in Mann's original story, the fixation is Platonic rather than sexual, but the film pulses with pathos, a dark Wagnerian atmosphere perfectly captured by the haunting, sublime music score by Richard Grassby-Lewis, but also the drollest wit in recent moviemaking. John Hurt as the older Brit is just priceless, his role a gem with facets that gleam in all directions...I give it the full galaxy of FIVE STARS.

Slow but Witty
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 08/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Love and Death on Long Island"

Slow but Witty

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

In "Love and Death on Long Island", consummate English actor, John Hurt, plays Giles, a lonely and tired writer who is out of touch with the modern world. Jason Priestly plays the object of his desire. When Giles first meets Ronnie Bostock (Priestly), he finds a new reason for living as he pursues the young man. Seeing shades of "Death in Venice" and "Lolita" is this film is not surprising as the younger man is actively pursued by someone much older.
Giles is a stuffy English writer obsessed by an American teenager and grade B movie star. He goes to Long Island to find the guy and actually does so. Giles is an intellectual, crusty and 60ish and Giles manages to woo Ronnie. Hurt is perfect in the part and he gives us some wonderful acting. As he starts his new life while going after Ronnie we see him with warmth that the character has probably never felt before. When he offers to Help Ronnie in his career, it s clear to us that he does so in order to keep the young man close t him.
Giles has been in a state of self-exile from the modern world. He lives in a stuffy flat in London which is dominated by a picture of his recently deceased wife and all of his emotions are totally repressed. When fate aids him and exposes him to Ronnie, he finally begins to understand his true sexuality and he finds a semblance of happiness. His obsession for Ronnie is thoroughly satisfying for him.
The confession scene at the end of the movie is touching and filled with raw emotion. It is exactly the moment when Giles realizes that he is in love with Ronnie and lusts for him sexually. He does not merely admire him. Faced with the risk of losing the young man, he is ready to go actively after him and as Ronnie becomes more reluctant, Giles becomes more desperate.
One of the most surprising things about the film is the ability of Jason Priestly to carry his role nobly. He holds his own against Hurt who is pure magnificence.
The artistic convention of the older mentor and the younger muse is not new but it is handled beautifully. Other interesting ideas are raised as well--the nature of love and how those who are set in their ways can find a new reason for life.
Another Bittersweet Tale Of Desperate & Unreciprocated Gay
MUZIK4THAPEOPLE!! | Seattle & San Diego | 03/29/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Though this kind of story has been done to death on film
& in literature, and is certainly nothing new in the history of
"Gaydom", where the fascination, infatuation, lust and longing for the Str8,
buff, handsome, ultra masculine sexy college jock, cub, otter, or military man
of gay dreams is still alive & well!
Why do people always want the most what they can't have?
An age-old question...but why?
Why do otherwise intelligent & often accomplished gay men allow
themselves to be baited, taken in, consumed by their on lusts, manipulated
by their own loneliness and/or lack of self-worth into jumping for the Str8
guy fantasy, which is always just out of their reach and will always end in heartache!
It's a sad saga which has gone on since the dawn of recorded history and
continues today in the internet age where the Str8 carrot is still being
dangled (pun intended) in front of the collective gay consciousness!

All that having been said...

Late one night, about 2 yrs ago, I was watching Showtime and came upon this
movie "Love & Death On Long Island" which was just beginning.
John Hurt was amazing as the 19th Century-esque English writer (Giles De'Ath),
a closeted gay man who was once married to a woman and is now widowed.
He lives a sheltered exsistence in the guilded age, even though (in reality)
it's the late 20th Century! He's completely out of touch with the modern world,
lives in a stately manor, and is cared for by a maid, who occasionally
gives him bits & pieces of what is going on in the real world.
He doesn't even know what a VHS or a VCR is for god's sake! (-:
Anybody who's familiar with the work of John Hurt knows that he is a
master of creating these odd duck / fish-out-of-water characters.
You get a sense that his character is a very priggish, jaded and tired,
once very lauded writer who's hey-day is far behind him.
He has been in self-imposed seclusion for 20 yrs prior to the start of the story.

Anywayz, in an attempt to connect with modern times and get some
semblence a life, he ventures to a local movie theatre where he finds,
by pure chance because he actually went to see another film, but went
inside the wrong theatre, HIS NEW REASON FOR LIVING!!--In a very handsome
but otherwise forgettable actor, a kind of James Dean/ Johnny Depp knock off
(named Ronnie Bostock), played adeptly by Jason Priestley, who stars in a
series of B-Rate, mindless, low-brow, frat house comedies ala
Hurt's character becomes instantly & madly infatuated with Priestley's character
to the point of unhealthy obsession!---He buys EVERY MOVIE that Priestley's
character is in and watches them over and over!---He fantasizes wildly like a
school girl over his rippling young body, his golden tawny mane of hair,
his sexy deep brooding eyes, his pouty sullen "dream boat" demeanor....
He paws over countless Hollywood magazines and other materials to learn
as much about this Ronnie Bostock as he can!
I mean, sure he thinks the dialogue and plots of his films are ridiculous,
and his acting skills are marginal at best, but he deludes himself into
thinking that with a little "tutelege" and the sage experience of an older
wiser wealthy learned man (himself), that this young virile greek god of an
actor can realize his true potential as a master thespian of Olivier's proportions!
(Ha!--The trips of the human mind!)
So he decides to leave his sheltered, guilded, 19th Century world behind
and move to (Chesterton) Long Island, NY, where he has found out that
the object of his desire lives with his actress-model girlfriend, played by Fiona Leowi.
He needs to, has near him, touch him, breathe him in, HAVE HIM!!
He must infiltrate his studly god-like world, vanquish the girlfriend
and (in his most desperate of fantasies) make him see that what
THEY SHARE is something which defies convention, but alas is DESTINY!!
He does this slowly and methodically....first finding out where he lives,
then falsely befriending the girlfriend, who he merely tolerates in order
to get closer to his goal, patiently plotting and mapping out
in his sad & desperately delusional mind of the magical day when he will
meet his handsome prize, kick the girlfriend out of the beachfront condo,
and live happily ever after....just the two of them and the dog! (-:

Finally, he does meet Priestley's character and the two become friends.
He flatters and cajoles his quarry, strokes his healthy ego, makes him feel
more talented than he actually is, makes promises to write an opus of a
script which will put him on another level as an actor, etc.
But you also get a sense that Priestley's character isn't as naive as the
characters he plays...yet he's intrigued by this strange older diminuitive british
scholarly man with his flowery language, who seems to say all the right things
that he (on some level) wants to hear.
You also get a sense of the girlfriend not being as taken in by Hurt's
character's masquerade as she seems either. You get a sense that they are
both kind of letting him play himself out and reveal his true hand to them.
Fast forward to the climactic scene in the diner where, after he and Priestley's
character have just spent a day of hanging out, talking, laughing, and driving
the autumn backroads of Long Island together, he finally reveals the true nature
of his interest in his young protege, his career and more!
It's just Hurt and Priestley sitting together facing each other and the
subtle power of the scene is amazingly riveting!
Hurt is very dismissive of Priestley's girlfriend's signifigance in his life,
which you can see, really angers Priestley, but he keeps it in check.
She really is a very nice and beautiful woman and has been really
cool & tolerant of Hurt's character....but to him, she's a mere pawn in
his game nonetheless.
Let me just say that you definitely get to see what a really good actor that
Jason Priestley is in this scene, because it's all in his facial
expressions and body language as he reacts to Hurt's character's disparaging
revealations. You see a sense of betrayal, dismay, a little disgust,
seething anger at his manipulations and almost think
that Priestley might even take a swing at him at one point.
But then, you also see a sense of compassion, empathy & even pity in his
demeanor that this poor lonely aging gay man is so empty & so desperate
for love in his miserable life that he actually moved a world away just to
try to seduce his ideal vision of male perfection!
So sad that he didn't really see Priestley's character as a real
3-D human being with thoughts, feelings, a mind or a life of his own!
He's just an objectified fantasy to him...he can't see the real guy inside.

Priestley's character alas, lovingly rebuffs Hurt's character's
affection/intentions with a firm touch and squeeze on the shoulder
as he exits his life for good! Maybe they might have been freinds...
But it's all so sorted and messy that it's ruined now, and the masquerade is over!
Then you hear Hurt's voice narrating a very long bitter and a bit condescending
letter that he writes and faxes to Priestley as he heads back to England,
and perhaps, to commit suicide.
Priestley reads the letter privately in his condo with his girlfriend
occupied outside in the background, and shakes his head in pity....
You can almost hear him saying "Poor tragic guy!"
He then recalls what a sham this whole "friendship" thing was and
rips the long fax/letter up angrily, save a parabole of the fake script
that Hurt's character writes for him where Priestley's character quotes
a great poet's words at a funeral sequence in the midst of one of those
ridiculous movies that he plays in!
Priestley's character apparently uses this in an attempt to show
his depth as an actor...we don't get to see how it was recieved by his fans.
But that's how it ends.....with a meeting/parting handshake.

I felt really bad for Hurt's character...but that's how these things
usually end when you put all of your hopes, dreams, energies and passion
into someone who can never truly be yours because that's just not who they are!
The true LTR is ultimately the one you have within yourself...
One-sided lust/love for someone is always a painful thing!
But I thought they could've at least let Hurt's character catch a glimpse
of Priestley in the buff...swimming & running nude on the L.I. beachfront
with his dog, oblivious to just how beautiful, delicious, & hella-hot
his tight defined masculine body is to behold! (With Hurt's character lingering
just out of sight, drinking him in!) (-:
That would've at least been some consolation to the fact that
Hurt's empty fantasies just couldn't be a reality!
Well, needless to say, I found this film to be quite intriguing and well done.
Kudos to John Hurt and Jason Priestley for their great performances."