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My Christmas Night Movie: “Weekend” (UK, 2011) by Andrew Haigh

Tom Cullen and Chris New, in Andrew Haigh's "Weekend"

“Weekend” is about two postmodern guys drifting through life in some unnamed city in England’s East Midlands. Russell (Tom Cullen) is a lifeguard at a swimming pool, but don’t expect to see him perched in Speedos like an iconic California surfer; his job is at a community center and not much fun. He lives in a concrete high-rise, which I took to be public housing, but he’s made it fairly nice within his means. (Recent British movies that don’t feature lords and ladies are nearly always about the bleakness of modern life. One can interpret this several ways.) He’s somewhat openly-Gay, his close Straight friends know and they’re the ones he mostly hangs out with; he’s not big on the Gay movement, which doesn’t fit him. Then he meets a guy named Glen (Chris New) who is filled with Gay fire.

This isn’t a political movie but a human one. Their encounter begins at a Gay bar; sex first, conversation after. The film is about their two-day conversation.

It turns out Glen, an art student, is moving to Portland, Oregon to enroll in studies, just as they begin to fall in love.

The film is available now on Netflix; if you belong, search there. Here is A.O. Scott’s rave review in The New York Times.

What made this a good Christmas night picture for me was the character of Russell; he gradually emerges as fundamentally honest and decent. He and Glen do a lot of drugs and clash repeatedly – Glen is a bit cynical and in-your-face – but they allow themselves to enter into a relationship, however brief it might be. They have a genuine encounter; they open up to each other.

I liked spending Christmas night with this film. I identified with Glen, but I fell in love with Russell.++

5 Responses

  1. Thank you, Josh for the review. I´ll have to wait to see this movie but it no doubt will be interesting to me too. I hope you and yours had a good day yesterday and onward we go…I slept with four dogs as Juan Carlos had to housesit (big money, big mansion) and left right after late afternoon Christmas Dinner…we had lots of friends over including two new acquaintances who are Interior Designers visiting from Philadephia…quite nice, fun but I was exhausted last night. Love to you and yours, Len

  2. I must still be sleepy as I repeated myself…better go make coffee…guests sleeping downstairs from San Francisco and David, the every monday Massuse comes at nine…I need him. Enjoy!

  3. Leonardo, by now your every Monday Masseuse has visited, so there is nothing I need say to mellow you out. 🙂

    Little Luke and I had a nice Christmas, and I’m now wearing one of the results, a new red hoodie with MAINE across the back. It replaces a storied one from graduate school in 1984. Everyone who knows me says, “Buy him something warm,” because I don’t live in Central America.

  4. I don´t know what happened to David, the masseuse, he probably was hung over after holiday festivities with his wife and 4 (one is on the way so it´ll soon be 5)…I´ve suggested a free masectomy for Christmas…he´s nerveous…I can´t control everyones lives…it was only a little suggestion as the guy lives in a lamina and pressboard house and gathers wood for the cooking fire every morning at 4:00 up in the hills…anyway, my neck still hurts from being hunched over canvasas (on sawhorses) for 30 years…the hunchback look couldn´t be far behind…but, the paintings get better and better…good.

    Love the new red hoodie…perfect choice for Christmas (and I´m assuming it came from your Main Mainefriend). You read good and I think of you and wish you the best always…you´re my talented bro and I love you,

    Leonardo/Len

  5. That isn’t a masseuse, that’s a masseur – when he shows up; the plot thickens. As long as Juan Carlos approves of David, so do I. 4+1 babes, I’d be living in pressboard too.

    I think you meant to type vasectomy; just a little touch right there, now it’s done. If that’s what he needs.

    I got the greatest phone calls tonight; Andrew broke off from a Monopoly game with his cutthroat daughter to send me well wishes, then Alissa called back to ask, “Why are you hoping he’ll win?” Ack, I wasn’t! Let the best player win. And she did.

    Oh, I love that grrl. Told her so, got it back from her for the first time.

    We’re 1300 miles away, but we’ve had Christmas. Apparently the yarn I sent hasn’t got there yet, and neither has my hoodie to him and my child support check.

    But they will, and meanwhile let us enjoy the silent night. God bless Juan Carlos and the four doggies.

    Also a fine talk with Subdeacon Clint, if you can imagine a call that includes “interferon” and “protease inhibitors.” Those are hard to hear, but we laughed our butts off, so let the angelic hosts proclaim: Christ is born in Bethlehem.

    I love you, Len. Merry Christmas.

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