Gerontophilia (2013)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB

Canada, 2013.  1976 Productions, New Real Films, Telefilm Canada.  Story by Bruce La Bruce, Screenplay by Bruce La Bruce, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

A gorgeous teenager () spends quality time with his girlfriend () but has a fetish for old men, which means he hits the jackpot when his mother gets a job managing a nursing home.  Striking up a friendship with an eighty-something resident () who welcomes his company, Lajoie is not only aroused sexually by their impending intimacy but becomes emotionally attached to him and, deciding that the home is a hellhole for old people, springs his new friend out and takes him on a cross-country adventure.  This latest investigation into the fringes of human sexual desire by Bruce La Bruce features a bigger budget and tamer content than the provocateur is used to, and yet cushier production values and a cast of professional actors (which is for the most part a change for him) do nothing for the fact that he is incapable of creating characters with any inner life.  That the film does not feature his usual brand of ripe sexuality is not all that jarring, but the fact that he finds as little passion in restraint as he does in indulgence is hugely disappointing.  As usual, his main character experiences the fulfillment of his desires without ever particularly enjoying them, there’s no glee or rebellion in what could be a gay Harold And Maude, and there is little humour or humanity in what could be a poignant and sexy experience.  Information would be helpful anywhere to add more lustre to the proceedings: Lajoie’s penchant for sex with grandpa types does not need to be justified, but a little history would certainly get us into his mind a little more, while the nursing home setting is always clean and quiet and never actually shown to be the hellmouth that we are constantly being told it is (at least compared to the real hellmouths of nursing homes that I’ve been to).  Boland’s character, a woman who wants to be a revolutionary like the women she admires (which includes as many historical figures as it does campier choices like Winona Ryder, because shoplifting is an act of revolution), is more conceptual than practical and her performance as a result is forced and unpleasant; both she and Borden barely exist beyond the male lead’s perspective and even then we are barely aware of them beyond their position as reflections of Lajoie’s impulses.  The young man around whom it all centres is easy-going and shockingly beautiful, but his committed performance can do nothing about the fact that his character exists only on the surface.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2013

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