Our story opens with Emma (Lucy Jules), speaking to an unseen interviewer (presumably someone at a dating service), asking her what more she is looking for in a man. Emma replies: "I'd like a boyfriend that's not gay."
Sound like a great start? It was. But that opening is just a sliver of what Mr. Right is really about. (Although it is a very smart hook for the straights.) This film is basically a soap, a group of lovers and frenemies struggle with civility and yes, to find love in mutual circles of awkwardly entangled relationships.
Harry (James Lance) is a producer of an English house-swap. He hates his job, but loves his boyfriend, Alex. Alex (Luke de Woolfson), a 20-something struggling actor by day and a chef-savant by night. He struggles to remaining positive about his non-existent acting career while battling jealousy of his less talented, more successful peers, like hunky soap opera actor Lawrence (Leon Ockenden), and art dealer Tom’s (David Morris) favor of the week boy-toy Larrs (Benjamin Hart). Lawrence is trying out relationships for the first time with rugby player William (Rocky Marshall), who is interested but unwilling to start a new relationship for fear of hurting the one he has with his young daughter Georgie (Maddie Planer). And this is the circle of friends into which fag hag Emma takes her new "homo-nervous" boyfriend Paul (Jeremy Edwards). Ironically, he is strangely intrigued and enticed by all the drama.
Who will sleep with whom? Who will get caught? Whose dreams will be realized?
This film is a bit confusing on the outset. It requires close attention for the first good bit of it, introducing characters and trying to understand their relationships. Ensemble pieces are like that; .par for the course so to speak. But the accents and the dominating soundtrack didn’t help. Still the actually art of filmmaking was very good, the cinematography, the performances, the production design, the editing. The story… was not bad. I enjoyed the writing a great deal but the plot was predictable to say the least. I am on the fence about whether one adequately compensates for the other.
I like Directors David & Jacqui Morris’ style a lot. The film is shot with an energy that is equal part voyeurism, economy and ingenuity. Another great things about Mr. Right is these were a familiar cast of characters, with people we all know – and are – thus saving itself for being a film which would only be welcome in the confines of Gay cinema. The struggles these characters face are universal, regardless of sexual orientation. Issues like single parenthood and individual identity beyond a relationship are things that people grapple with, across culture, classes and gender.
I decided. This is a strong film, well done on all accounts. If one is to subscribe to the notion that there are no new stories, just new twists, Mr. Right takes its audience on a pretty good bend; a worthwhile bend. Good job.
Mr. Right is an official selection of OUTFest 2009 happening at the DGA and surrounding neighborhood theatres now through July 10, 2009.