Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 2000. Chaiken Films. Screenplay by Thomas Bezucha. Cinematography by Rob Sweeney. Produced by Jennifer Chaiken. Music by Joseph Conlan. Production Design by Stephanie Carroll. Costume Design by Sam Hamilton, Rene Holguin. Film Editing by Andrew London. Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.
Henry Hart (Arye Gross) is enjoying burgeoning success as a New York artist but is held back by the loneliness that comes from having no love in his life. The complicated relationships he left behind in his small town of Big Eden, Montana are reignited when he finds out that his grandfather has been taken ill after a stroke and he must abandon his gallery opening to go back home and take care of him.
There, Henry is reunited with the football jock who broke his heart in high school and now, almost twenty years later, is suddenly ready to make Henry’s dreams come true. Of course, it isn’t that simple since the owner of the general store (Eric Schweig) has broken his code of shyness to pursue Henry for himself as well.
This warm-hearted, genuinely moving little film stretches credibility when it shows a group of small-town cowboys working their quirky magic to help gay men find love, but all the more power to director Thomas Bezucha for having written it that way; it takes a confident artist to present the world he dreams of and not the one that exists.
Louise Fletcher is wonderful in a supporting role as a schoolteacher who is also a close family friend and Henry’s chief confidante, but the film is far too long and emotionally exhausts its audience before finally reaching a conclusion. Still, Gross is likeable in the lead and all the characters are thoroughly amiable.