The Last Straight Man

The Last Straight ManThe Last Straight Man (2015)

“You can’t find love in a locked room,” is what Lewis’s grandmother used to tell him.  No matter how many hats we wear, or romance stories we try to escape through, it’s our own lives that we have to live.

Synopsis by writer/director Mark Bessenger: Lewis is a closeted gay man throwing a bachelor party for his straight best friend and secret crush, Cooper. After a night of drunken sex together, the two men decide to meet in the same hotel suite on the same night each year to hook up and catch up. Over the course of twelve years, we see four additional nights that depict how the two men grow and how their friendship changes.

For a film with just 2 main characters and one location, this movie has a lot going on.  There are multiple concepts being looked at here like friendship and how that can develop into something more, coming out and how not doing so can affect you and others, the idea of a soul mate or “the one,” bisexuality or fluid sexuality, and taking control of your life.  Where do I start?

I liked the exploration of Lewis and Cooper’s relationship and how that grew.  It was apparent from the beginning that Cooper had something going on in his mind for Lewis.  It seems like he wasn’t sure what it was though.  That’s a shame though because the start of this film is his bachelor party – he’s about to get married the next day.

One would hope that we figure out our sexuality before we get married.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.  Why?  That’s a whole other blog.  But we can plainly see Cooper’s feelings develop.  There is one scene where Lewis finally gets Cooper to kiss him, and the results are startling to everyone – especially Cooper.

One line that I found especially telling was Cooper’s.  He had been talking about how he needed to be a grown up now that he was married and starting a family.  He tells Lewis, “I try to do the right thing, but then I talk to you and suddenly you’re the right thing.”  It’s like he can live in his straight-life bubble as long as he doesn’t have to face his feelings.  But when he does there’s something else there.

Lewis is obviously quite smitten with Cooper, and he doesn’t have any problem with that as he comes out shortly as the film gets started.  But he yearns for more than what he is getting from Cooper.  He wants a relationship, and ultimately it is he who is the “grown-up.”

He tells a story about his grandmother, and while I won’t recount all the details he does make a good point with it.  He says that basically, you can’t live your life fully if you keep it tucked away in the dark. I think this is a key message of the film, and I think it’s a good one.

I used to run a local support group for folks who were having a difficult time coming out, and I think this was one of the main recurring themes.  People want to live their lives openly.  They want to be who they are, and not have to spend the limited energy they have on trying to be someone else.  Life is short, and to spend time trying to be something you’re not is a terrible waste of the gift of a lifetime.

Back to the film!  I thought I wouldn’t like the very simple setup – it’s almost like a play in that there are but two characters (with a few others thrown in here and there) and one set.  But that allows us to focus in tightly on the story and the interactions between the two men.  This film is a bit graphic (some frontal nudity), but it’s done in a way that is a key part of the story.  However, I wouldn’t watch it on a plane.  Music was.. odd sometimes.  There were just one or two rough spots with some lines delivered that were a bit flat, but overall I thought the chemistry between Lewis and Cooper was there.

I took more notes on this film than most, so it’s a movie that will make you think a bit.  There’s a lot of sex, but there’s also a lot going on here emotionally/psychologically.  And I think the latter is where we end up focusing on when the story gets going.

Trailer on YouTube

Availability:
TLA: DVD & Streaming
Amazon: DVD
Youtube: Streaming

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