Parting Glances [1986]

Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
The late Bill Sherwood's quiet little 1986 feature film about the early days of AIDS has held up remarkably well, and it still seems much smarter and less sentimental than higher-profile "AIDS movies" such as Longtime Companion and Philadelphia. It focuses on a couple, Michael and Robert, during a 24-hour period in New York City, as they prepare for Robert's departure on a trip to Africa. Michael must encourage his HIV-positive friend and former lover Nick (Steve Buscemi) to attend Robert's going-away party (hosted by The Drew Carey Show's Kathy Kinney), meanwhile trying to get Robert to stop avoiding Nick, the gnarly lead singer of a punk band whose video MTV has put into current rotation. Sherwood basically follows Michael around town, as he visits a record store, gets pursued by a cute young cashier, has dinner with a married couple, criticizes Robert for his callousness, and tries to nursemaid Nick, whose defiance against convention, pity, and a couple of bathetic Don Giovanni-inspired nightmares makes him the firm moral center of the film, rather than a victim. As Robert gets ready to leave, Nick plays a prank on Michael to test his devotion. Sherwood keeps issues unresolved and his characters very much alive. It's therefore a shame he didn't live long enough to make more witty, intelligent films like this. --Robert Burns Neveldine

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