★★★★★ | Keep The Lights On
This award-winning and Sundance Festival-selected film is an intricate look at the lives of two men who enter into a relationship in 90s New York.
Erik is a Danish documentary film-maker who meets Paul via a telephone chat-line. Erik is anxious about commitment and lawyer Paul has a steady girlfriend. What starts off as a casual sexual relationship develops into something more meaningful and romantic. The film charts the two lovers throughout their turbulent ten-year relationship.
The two main characters’ lives take on unexpected turns and as Erik becomes more responsible and committed, Paul’s more orderly life spirals out of control as his recreational drug abuse becomes a destructive habit. The relationship enters a series of cycles of damage and renewal as the film charts their lives.
The film is beautiful to watch but also painful to view in places, but ultimately provides a meaningful glimpse into the areas of both lightness and shade which relationships can pass through. The balance of the film is such that the story never feels too bleak but is balanced with erotic tension, a compelling storyline and occasional bursts of humour. Strong performances from the cast add to the emotional intensity of the film.
Highly recommended for a moving and fascinating insight into the life cycle of a relationship.
Directed by Ira Sachs
This review was first published in January 2013