Scenes From a Gay Marriage (2012)
Scenes From a Gay Marriage is less about the scenes or even the noises of a gay marriage, but more about one man’s journey from the past to the present. This one takes us on a circuitous route from letting go of what might have been to what is right in front of him.
Synopsis from TLA: Darren can’t sleep because of the happily married gay couple upstairs. He can hear them having sex through his apartment’s air ducts. Like, a lot of sex, every night. He tries to ignore it at first, but soon becomes obsessed with the suspicion that one of them is having an affair. Thus begins Darren’s quest for the truth by surveying, snooping and basically stalking them. His ex-boyfriend and gal pal both think he’s going a little nuts. But thank goodness Darren’s handsome maintenance man hasn’t caught on… yet.
This film comes off almost like a random string of events. We have Darren who is just a little messed up and not quite sure where he’s going in life. He has an odd job, no boyfriend, and his hobby appears to be listening in on the drama (and sexual escapades of his neighbors). He’s made some interesting choices in life like moving across the country to be with a guy who there wasn’t even a certain relationship with. I’m not sure if it’s the script or the acting, but he comes across as very introspective and/or confused, which makes you wonder what the heck is going on in his mind.
Along the way, Darren meets a few interesting people. One of them is Luce (short for Lucy). She is like the comedic backboard of the film adding interest and fun to some otherwise mundane situations. We watch as Darren and Luce become best friends practically overnight. This film is almost like being a fly on the wall watching things unfold, and the scenes with Luce are almost like just hanging out with friends.
We also meet Joe who is the maintenance man for the complex that Darren lives in. Joe brings complexity to Darren’s life – first Darren seems interested in Joe, then not, then interested… I could see why he made Joe confused. I think Darren was pretty confused.
I like this movie for it’s almost improv-like acting and presentation. I’m sure there was a script, but most of the time it just seemed like people talking to each other. Sure, you could take that in one of two ways – that either the script was bad or it was intended to be that way. I think it was the latter. Production values were all good. I also liked it’s almost self-commentary about gay-themed films.
Some parts of the story were a little confounding to watch. Darren’s confusion about his ex – the one who got away – and his intense fixation on the couple that he can hear through the air ducts are a little strange. I think they demonstrate Darren’s state of mind – he’s in a period in his life where he’s either going to grow up or go crazy.
I think one of the themes here is about connections with other people. Darren meets several new people along his journey, each of which brings and reflects out a different side of him. These connections help him to mature to a degree, although not too terribly much. Another theme is about holding on to the past. Darren is fairly stuck on his ex – they talk often, and from a phone call where Darren tells him about his neighbor it becomes obvious that he’s not quite over that chapter in his life.
The story is a little random at times, and sometimes I wonder how we get from point a to b, but overall it’s a likable film that draws you into the story from a unique perspective.
TLA: DVD & Streaming