Tear-jerker takes a hold

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film -

IT takes some­thing spe­cial to draw a tear from this critic.

I could prob­a­bly count on one hand the num­ber of movies that have made me tear up.

I went into Hold­ing The Man know­ing only of its rep­u­ta­tion as a tear duct cleanser, con­fi­dent that it would not leave me reach­ing for the tis­sues.

Turns out I needed those tis­sues, be­cause my jacket sleeves were drenched by the end.

Based on the book by Aus­tralian Ti­mothy Con­i­grave from his per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences, Hold­ing The Man chron­i­cles the tu­mul­tuous re­la­tion­ship be­tween Con­i­grave (Ryan Corr) and his boyfriend John Ca­leo (Craig Stott).

The two men from dif­fer­ent worlds – Ti­mothy is a drama stu­dent and John a foot­baller – be­gin their for­bid­den love af­fair at their Catholic high school dur­ing the 1970s and face a dis­ap­prov­ing fam­ily and so­ci­ety.

Their re­la­tion­ship spans 15 years through ca­reer suc­cess, long dis­tance, and per­sonal crises.

While many of the plot points now seem like story-telling cliches (this is ba­si­cally Romeo and Juliet with a gay cou­ple), Hold­ing The Man makes them feel or­ganic.

There is a con­certed ef­fort, from those be­hind and in front of the cam­era, to have this feel gen­uine with an aim for emo­tional re­al­ism ev­ery step of the way.

It also bal­ances heart, hu­mour and tragedy with­out be­ing emo­tion­ally ma­nip­u­la­tive.

Corr de­liv­ers an out­stand­ing per­for­mance as the ac­tor who can be as dra­matic in life as he is on the stage, but the en­tire cast is sen­sa­tional.

Per­haps tim­ing plays an im­por­tant role in the power of this film. The book was pub­lished in 1995, we are still wait­ing for our gov­ern­ment to recog­nise mar­riage equal­ity, prov­ing not a lot has changed in 20 years. It should take a look at this amaz­ing film.

Ryan Corr and Craig Stott in Hold­ing The Man.

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