thatcow

But are you aware that you are self-aware?

Jeffrey has stopped having sex. Good for him.

As a gay man in an age of AIDS, he finds the possible consequences as too much to bear, so he makes a resolution too difficult to keep.

Why should we care?

Jeffrey - the movie - is a hopelessly self-aware little comedy about a modern gay lifestyle. After seeing so many dramatic treatments of the same material crumble under their own weight, I would have expected this film to be a breath of fresh air. Alas, Jeffrey comes off as too fluffy and lightweight to make much of an impact.

Part of the problem seems to be these self-aware aspects of the film, where characters address the audience directly. I'm sure this worked as a stage play. There's a different kind of intimacy in that format. While any form of art calls attention to its own unreality, it hurts to play away from its strengths. The stage is an expressive medium, while film is inherently visual. When Jeffrey talks about how he feels, it takes away from us seeing how he feels.

Sure, there are some life lessons coming for Jeffrey. It's not all laughs and meaningless complaints. But for a setup so transparent, we need something else going on to keep interest, and it never quite arrives.

Steven Weber plays Jeffrey well enough, but it would have been good to see some stronger material to really judge the performance. I like seeing Michael T. Weiss as Steve, but he's almost too recognizable for me for the illusion to catch on - someone should tell me if he pulls it off. And, of course, it is a delight to see Patrick Stewart playing gay - perhaps it's easier to pull off flamboyant, especially as a well known actor, but I don't care - there's something compelling about him.

There's a place for Jeffrey, both the character and the film - but don't push either too hard, or have too many expectations. Laugh a little and move on.

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