Review: Holding the Man

September 1, 2015 in General

Holding the Man is hands-down one of the best films I’ve seen this year.

Based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Timothy Conigrave, it tracks Tim’s life through the highs and lows of his 15-year relationship with John.

HTM1Tim and John met at high school in Melbourne in the 1970s; Tim an aspiring actor in a production of Romeo and Juliet, John the captain of the school rugby team. Theirs was a tough coming out, but is recounted here in such a way as to bring snorts of laughter from the audience.

The couple were at the forefront of the battle first for gay rights, and then against AIDS as it swept across the world in the 1980s. Holding the Man is a brutally honest look at the highs and lows not just of Tim and John, but of the community to which they belonged.

HTM2Holding the Man holds true to the narrative described by Timothy Conigrave in his 1995 novel. At times the film reverts to a voiceover where Tim describes crucial moments – how he met John, their mutual love for each other – in passages lifted directly from the book. It’s oddly touching.

This film runs the full gamut of emotions. I laughed, cringed, and even shed a few tears as the story turned in a more serious direction. Yet despite their experiences, Tim and John’s endearing (and often crude) sense of humour always shone through.

It’s well worth a watch.

Holding the Man is showing at Academy Cinemas until Tuesday September 8th.

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