Shared Rooms (2016)
Many LGBT people have chosen families, and they come in all shapes and forms. Shared Rooms explores this idea.
The film centers around 3 “couples.” Laslo and Cal are husbands, Dylan and Julian are roommates, and Sid and Gray just hooked up. So we have a range of twosomes, each with their own storylines going on.
Laslo and Cal are husbands and seem happy with their life when Cal’s nephew Zeke shows up. Now, they have figure out what their new family looks like. Dylan and Julian are just roomies, but you can tell there is something more there in a strange way. Most of their struggle appear to be fear of being honest with each other as well as sleeping in the same bed. Sid and Gray are a one-night stand turned into something more with lots of nudity.
This state of undress has a role in their burgeoning relationship. They both are comfortable with themselves and perhaps this indicates a vulnerability they can have with each other. However, there are a number of scenes where this seems a little gratuitous as the camera pans/zooms awkwardly. We remarked the beginning seemed a little “soft porny” as the film began.
Once you’re past that, the story unfolds one couple at a time. The focus was less on the chosen family aspect in terms of the larger group, but more about each couple individually. They each live in their shared rooms, only to come together at the beginning and end of the film.
Some of the dialogue was unrefined, and some of the performances were a bit flat. One of the better scenes was Zeke telling Laslo about his coming out experience which came across as authentic. Other parts were a little clunky with unpolished conversations about photography, religion and nudism.
The soundtrack was a little perplexing as sometimes it sounded like mischief was afoot, and other times like something should be a joke or not taken seriously when it should have been left to the viewer.
Gray says, “By observing you change the subject.” This reference to the Observer Effect was not lost on me while watching this film, and I’m also aware of my own “observer bias.” I’ve enjoyed several other Rob Williams films, but this one missed the mark for me. It felt like it was missing something, disjointed perhaps, and like it could have been more. Perhaps your observation will be different.
“Shared Rooms” is up there as of of my favourite queer holiday films! I actually thought this was written better than some of Rob’s other films (even though I enjoy them all, some because they are so cheesy and cliche!).