Weekend (2011)

There are certain things that pretty much all gay men agree on. Cher used to rock. The metrosexual male is a confusing creature. And coming out is one of the defining moments of your life. That last topic is broached early on in director Andrew Haigh’s sexy, agreeably gritty romance, though Weekend isn’t content with simply retreading the same beaten path as so many ‘gay movies’ – it’s a film packed with emotion and honesty.

Mostly it’s about love. Can two people fall in love in just two days? Russell (Tom Cullen) and Glen (Chris New) meet in a bar on a Friday night, and end up spending the entire weekend together. They’re fundamentally different – Russell’s a damaged realist who hasn’t fully accepted his sexuality; Glen’s a fiery dreamer, actively controversial and championing gay equality – but that’s exactly what draws them together.

“You want everyone to think independently, but you want them all to agree with you,” Russell challenges Glen at one point. It’s just one of numerous stand-out moments in a film that never rests on its laurels. Weekend is constantly searching; exploring what it means to be gay in the modern world, and demonstrating how two people who are often (derogatively) reduced to a single adjective – queer – can be so utterly different, and so utterly perfect for one another.

Shining an intense light on Cullen and New’s relationship, Weekend’s shabby-chic aesthetic keeps it from devolving into a glossy gay romcom. And despite its themes, to call Haigh’s film a romcom would do it a disservice. With its naturalistic leads, frank sexual encounters and candid discussions, Weekend achieves that most important of filmic ambitions – relatability. In that way, it echoes My Beautiful Laundrette, centring its love story in a recognisable present where gay identity is ever evolving. If only all films about gay men were this good. 4/5

Via Out In The City