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Film Review - Jeffrey
Jeffrey is unusual as a mainstream Hollywood film. Although there have been homosexuals in the film industry from the beginning, Hollywood has at best ignored them, and at worst cast them in unflattering stereotypes. Jeffrey is a breakthrough and perhaps so because it is an adaptation of a highly successful Broadway play.
The title character has decided to give up sex forever. He doesn't want to get involved in a relationship, only to watch his lover contract, and die from, AIDS. Many people Jeffrey knows are dying or have died. The lover of a friend of his is dying. All of this Jeffrey wants to avoid.
It's not really the dying that scares Jeffrey, it's the loss of people. Jeffrey at no time even worries about himself dying. The comedy of this film, and this is an extremely funny film, is in Jeffrey's decision conflicting with his desires. Jeffrey has met a man he is very attracted to. He really does want a relationship, but his fear keeps pushing him away.
The trouble with Jeffrey is its uneven pace. It's joke, joke, joke, something serious about AIDS, joke, joke, joke. It's like this film keeps shifting gears from fourth down to first and back up to fourth. Maybe it's the only way we can talk about AIDS without making a completely depressing film.
The cast is killer with over the top performances from most notably Patrick Stewart and Nathan Lane. In fact, Stewart makes the film happen, and gives Jeffrey the film's pivotal moment. Stewart's lover dies, and we see him switch from the happy-go-lucky queen to the grieving man offended by Jeffrey's disconnection from life. At this moment, these men are complete opposites: one who won't take a lover because of the pain of loss, the other a man feeling the pain of loss because he had the greatest treasure of a life.
Besides this message of living life to its fullest, what's right with Jeffrey is that the gags will make you fall out of your chair ... assuming you don't view the subject of homosexuality as a horrible sin where you're going to burn in Hell. If you're worried about your soul, perhaps you should avoid Jeffrey. Otherwise, prepare for a great film.