★★★★ Turtle Hill, Brooklyn | It’s a sunny Sunday morning in Brooklyn and Mateo wakes his boyfriend Will up with a cup of coffee and a cupcake with single candle alight on top.
Today is Will’s 30th birthday and in a few hours their rather wonderful garden apartment will be overflowing with friends at the celebration party they have been planning for weeks. Before they can hardly wake up there is a knock at the door and an unexpected guest wants to surprise Will with her birthday wishes. It’s his sister Molly who he has never ‘come out’ too, and when she spots a half dressed Mateo she screams like a banshee as she is horrified to discover that brother is gay and has not asked her for help (i.e. to become straight). Mateo is also not thrilled but for entirely different reasons as Will had lied to him about being totally out to his family.
Molly departs in a huff and soon the first guests start to arrive to help decorate the garden and get the party ready. As all of Will’s friends pour in, it’s obvious that they are the new gentility that have taken over Brooklyn… they are lawyers, doctors, artists, money brokers and even a community activist. It isn’t until Luis one of Mateo’s friends arrive that we see the underbelly of NY that is less successful. Luis announces that he is tired of menial restaurant jobs and being treated like a 2nd class citizen and so is returning to Mexico. Mateo shares the same frustration, yet it never crosses Will’s mind that his boyfriend feels like this too.
As the afternoon drifts into early evening there is an unexpected guest who carries a secret that can possible spoil both the party and Will and Mateo’s relationship. It causes the two men to question themselves as well as each other.
It’s a wonderful wee story about these two men trying to wing it through a relationship together without being able to talk to each other. With their witty and articulate friends they are voluble and inclusive and the party itself is a great success. The underlying worry they both have is what will happen when it’s not such a sunny day and when they are left alone.
Co-written by actors Brian W. Seibert and Ricardo Valdez who also play Will and Mateo, and it is directed by Ryan Gielen who uses a hand-held camera throughout to get up close and personal. The result is a rather charming movie that engages you so that you really want to know the outcome. There are just two ‘but’s’ however. Firstly the chemistry between Mateo and Will was just off-kilter and they really weren’t that convincing as a couple from the off. And the screaming sister was a real jarring note to this smooth piece, it seemed both out of step and out of place.
I am always that more forgiving on a gay indie movie made on a minuscule budget but aside from my two ‘but’s’ this really was quite one so much better than the norm. And really fun too.