longtime companion (1989)

Every once and a while life seems to be doing weird things to you. You’re confused. You feel like your art is confounding you and maybe you’re having some trouble getting laid. You’ve got a lot of shit to deal with, but you just can’t. And for some reason, you’re having trouble feeling anything. During these times, you might just need a good fucking cry, to bawl your eyes out, sob alone in the comforting darkness of your empty apartment. If that’s what you need, then Longtime Companion is the film for you. And fuck it, if it isn’t what you need, you should still fucking watch this movie if you haven’t, cuz this be a MO CLASSIC.

If you’ve been living under a heterosexual rock and haven’t heard of this film, here’s the breakdown : seminal, groundbreaking, late-80s film that unabashedly, un-glamourously and honestly portrays the AIDS crisis, and its effect on the gay community, featuring phenomenal performances by young Mary-Louise Parker and Campbell Scott, and young-ish Harry and the Hendersons star, Bruce Davison. It is and was one of the best artistic representations of how AIDS actually effected real people, and is extremely moving, educational and inspiring.

Listen, I love me some Angels in America like the next fag, but it’s actually really refreshing to see a film coming right out of the first decade of the AIDS crisis, that doesn’t need to have Emma Thompson bustin’ through your roof to make a point. In fact, there’s almost no romanticizing in this film. Everything is put forth to you in a straightforward way. In the 80s, when you got AIDS, you got sick. No one knew what the fuck was going on, people were scared. Ronald Reagan fucked up and murdered millions of people by withholding crucial information and down-playing the situation. Mary-Louise Parker’s character in the film says, “Do you think it’s the worst thing that’ll happen in our lives, or do you think Khomeini will take over and we’ll all be made slaves?” Although the Ayatolla’s been taken down, the other big A is still going strong and is definitely the worst thing that has happened in recent homosexual history.

In fact, this film is required reading, faggots – especially all you “post-homo” mofos out there. I don’t care how awesome your life is, or how un-important being gay is to you, or how tired you think the Pride Parade is, or how over-the-whole-thing you are. If you take it up the ass boys, you need to know your fucking history. This happened. It changed the world. It shaped the lifestyle you lead now, whether you want to admit it or not.

And even though, I’m being PREACHY, this film actually isn’t at all. It effectively deals with a really intense subject matter without shoving it’s message down your throat. The events in the film unfold swiftly (it clocks in at around 90 minutes) and deceptively smoothly, and the writing and direction are subtle and superb.

I, like most late-20-something queers, discovered this film late one night, on some premium movie channel in my adolescence and it really changed my life. I’ve seen it many times, but each viewing continues to be as impactful as the first. So, if you’re reading this and haven’t seen this film yet, give yourself some emotional space, hunker down and press play.

Oh, and if you’re not weeping by the amazing and unforgettable final scene, you should take a Turing Test, because you might not be human.


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