screencaps : Oldounce
Directed by Rose Troche
Written by Robert Farrar
Starring: Kevin McKidd, James Purefoy, Simon Callow, Harriet Walter, Tom
Hollander and Jennifer Ehle
Imdb tagline: At the suggestion of a straight friend, gay man Leo joins a men's
group, where he causes some upsets by declaring his attraction to one of its members.
Bedrooms and Hallways was the first time I had seen a gay relationship as
the central plot of a romantic comedy. A refreshing take on an old story, I
enjoyed it immensely.
High-spirited dialogue, gender stereotypes and a dose of the absurd provide
the humor. Simon Callow and Harriet Walter are scene stealers as the
conflicting yet sexually charged Keith and Sybil. Beneath the obvious laughs
there lies a semi-serious exploration of what it means to actually understand
oneself. The various intimate discussions between Leo (Kevin McKidd),
Brendan (James Purefoy) and Sally (Jennifer Ehle) are sobering moments.
Darren’s (Tom Hollander) horror at discovering that Leo, his flatmate and
friend, might not be as homosexual as he would like is played for laughs.
But the revelation induces Darren to question his own choices in lovers
and ultimately allows him to grow as a person. The vulnerability displayed
by Leo, Darren and Brendan to a lesser extent does not make them less
male, but rather more complete human beings. They are multi-dimensional
characters, which is an aspect often lacking in romantic comedy. If it is
there then it feels false: a put on as much as the characters themselves are
merely words on a page.
This was a real romantic comedy in the best sense of the word. The love
triangle at its heart is not simple and does not insult the viewer with a
trite resolution. Kevin Mckidd has a lovely sense of comic timing and an
ability to play the innocent that had me laughing repeatedly during the film.
Both McKidd and Purefoy deserve high marks for delivering very natural
performances in scenes that were bound to be uncomfortable for any
straight man. It's a testament to an actor's willingness to push their limits
and to the trust exchanged by people devoted to their craft. Both actors
went on to play virile Alpha males in Rome. You couldn't get more opposite
of Leo in Lucius Vorenus or Brendan in Mark Antony.
Bedrooms and Hallways is a diverting 96 minutes that gives the viewer
genuine entertainment and asks them to consider who they are as people,
and how their actions might affect the ones closest to them.