George Clark’s review published on Letterboxd:
2020 Releases Ranked-HERE
The Boys in the Band is a 2020 American comedy/drama film directed by Joe Mantello and stars Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesús, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington, and Tuc Watkins. The film is based on the 1968 play ‘The Boys in the Band’ by Mart Crowley who sadly died in March this year, RIP.
The Boys in the Band is just another film that reiterates the fact that remakes can sometimes be excellent. I haven’t seen the 1970s original, nor have I seen the play, yet Joe Mantello’s single location, dialogue heavy film was great to watch nevertheless. Just like this years “Hollywood”, The Boys in the Band is absolutely gorgeous to look at and has a similar storyline of homosexual men admitting their love and delving deeper into themselves. The 1960s ascetic really worked wonders for me as inside the apartment looked absolutely fantastic to look at. Hollywood turned out to be one of my favourite limited series this year and whilst The Boys in the Band doesn’t quite work as well as that, yet it still worked incredibly well for the point it was trying to make.
Whilst The Boys in the Band doesn’t have any of the action many expect from modern film, it instead takes the dialogue heavy root like films such as 12 Angry Men and Steve Jobs did so well and whilst I am a fan of action films, I adore smart pieces of filmmaking like this. The dialogue is exceptionally good, some of the best of 2020, and the way the characters are developed throughout the 2hr runtime is superb to see as they all get their moment to shine and take the spotlight. Now I wish I could go into more detail about the men but I don’t want to spoil anything so all I’ll say is that all of the performances a worked really well. The raw power behind some scenes was simply breathtaking, yet despite everyone performing great, Jim Parsons really stole the show. Personally I love The Big Bang Theory so seeing Jim Parsons in more roles like this really makes me happy as he’s simply fantastic to watch on screen. However, what I will say is that Tuc Watkins really stood out to me. There’s a certain scene involving a telephone that completely took my breath-away as the raw power and emotion behind that conversation was phenomenal to watch. Despite everyone performing great, he was by far the biggest surprise for me as despite his limited lines, worked really well.
One thing that was truly extraordinary about this film was how it handled the sometimes subtle, and very much not subtle homophobic that was portrayed on screen as well as off. As a straight man I can clearly say I’ve always been appalled by how other people talk like this, how hurtful it can be and how truly awful it makes the person sound and that’s what got me about this film as that’s what people faced back then and still do now and honestly that’s really sad to know. But Hey! I don’t want to put a downer on this film as honestly it made me laugh whilst also making me think, each character brought a unique sense of mystery and/or fun to the role and once you delve deeper into the “true love” storyline, each little detail really started to jump out at me and made me enjoy this film even more.
The Boys in the Band can sometimes feel dated and sadly slightly formulaic at times but despite those factors it really does work. The smooth editing, beautiful style and great dialogue all result in a rather brilliant sophisticated film that I quite enjoyed.