Aug 14, 2016

[Movies] Looking: The Movie (2016)

I was never exactly the world's biggest Looking fan, but I had a healthy appreciation for what the show was trying to achieve. Mainstream LGBT representation is a little rare and to get a new series on HBO was still a big thing. But the show was on somewhat shaky ground from the get-go and it was lucky for the show to make it to a second season.

Let's face it - Looking is not the Queer as Folk off these modern times. It may touch on similar themes but I always felt like something was missing to really give the show heart or at least make it feel like it was speaking with the voice of this generation of gay men.

The show did not get renewed for a third season, but instead they committed to a movie to sort of wrap up loose ends. This is that movie. And while this movie didn't exactly change my thinking about this show and some of its characters, it did act as a decent enough end to the narrative for many of thee characters in the show.

Synopsis: Looking: The Movie is a feature-length television special meant as the series finale for the TV series Looking. The movie was directed by Andrew Haigh who also co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Lannan.

It has been 9 months since the events of Season 2 and Patrick (Jonathan Groff) is finally returning to San Francisco in time for Agustín's (Frankie J. Alvarez) wedding to Eddie (Daniel Franzese). Dom (Murray Bartlett) is now fairly successful as an entrepreneur and his best fag hag Doris (Lauren Weedman) remains happily in love as well. The movie largely remains fixed on Patrick's perspective as we revisit everyone's stories and see how they're doing now.

What I Liked: For a movie burdened with the need to wrap up an entire series, the pacing felt consistent with the show, which was a little measured and not at all rushed. And that gave us time to really just enjoy all the individual character moments as they came along, which was a good thing. And a lot of the movie plays out like this - with a few characters on screen talking about this and that and addressing the sort of questions that fans have probably been asking like why haven't Patrick and Dom ever gotten together?

Jonathan Groff did pretty well as the focus of the movie as he didn't feel quite as annoying as he was during most of the TV series. Patrick has clearly grown as a person in his time away from San Francisco ad Groff did manage to convey a lot of that.

What Could Have Been Better: Dom's story felt a little underdeveloped and the wedding felt more like a background event instead of something to truly celebrate in this movie. Thus we saw very little of Agustín and Eddie together, which was weird given the wedding and all.

At the same time, I wasn't sure what was going on with the decision to have Patrick deal with both of his exes Richie (Raúl Castillo) and Kevin (Russell Tovey). And don't get me wrong, I love both of theses actors quite dearly and their characters helped make the show decently bearable. However having them paraded in front of Patrick didn't really feel like a truly critical plot point.

But in the end the movie ends on a question or maybe several of them and it doesn't really feel like a perfectly neat ending. Then again, the show was never all that clean and neat, in a manner of speaking, and always aimed for a more or less honest depiction of life.

TL;DR: Looking: The Movie is a good effort to end the series well enough and had some great character moments that helped dispel less appealing aspects of the show. It's not a truly satisfying ending, but at least it answers a lot of questions from the show. Thus the movie special gets 3.5 silly moments between Patrick and Dom out of a possible 5.


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