Netflix’s ‘The Boys in the Band’ is a witty and complex LGBTQ drama
As we remember those who have passed in 2020, we name Mart Crowley, playwright of Boys in the Band which was recently adapted into a Netflix film. The film shows it’s play roots in the well crafted dialogue and setting centered in a single Upper East Side apartment, over the course of one evening in 1968. The protagonist of sorts is Michael played by Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory. It was nice to see him finally play gay in a performance that was refreshing after seeing James Corden in The Prom. The film also starred Andrew Rannell from The Prom, playing Larry, and Zachary Quinto of Spock fame playing Harold. I also enjoyed watching Charlie Carver play Cowboy, a bona fide himbo.
Michael is hosting a birthday party for his friend Harold and invites all his other friends, except for Alan, his heterosexual friend from college who calls him and asks to visit that night, crying and saying that he needs to talk to Michael. Michael is hesitant to let Alan come over while hosting the party because Alan does not know that Michael and his friends are gay. This is the climate in which viewers begin the film, well, just after Michael discusses psychoanalysis with his friend and sometimes lover, Donald. Psychoanalysis becomes a theme, with the party serving as a combative group therapy, after Michael demands that the guests play a game: call the one person in your life whom you have truly loved and confess to them.
The film displays a dark sense of humor, common in particular aspects of LGBTQ community, with the characters constantly calling each other slurs. However, what starts as clever banter escalates into verbal warfare when Harold arrives, late to the party and escalates again, when the party game begins. Michael isn’t particularly likable. He is shallow, vain, prone to fits of rage. He is a control freak and a bully. Yet, he is sympathetic. He says, “If only we didn’t hate ourselves so much.” And I felt that. LGBTQ people do tend to have internalized shame over our gender and/or sexuality. If only we didn’t hate ourselves so much.
If you looking for LGBTQ drama with witty dialogue and dark themes, than I would recommend you watch The Boys in the Band.