Director: Directorial debut – Tom Heard
Writer: First screenplay – Tom Heard
Stars: Tom Heard, Donato De Luca, Sharron Bower
RATING: 4 Stars
Jamie (Tom Heard) is a singer whose cabaret partner and boyfriend dumped him a year ago. Since then, he has angrily shut out the world, licking his wounds and always putting himself first. His best friend Elaine (Sharron Bower) has had it, and calls out his selfishness, which only hurts Jamie and pushes him further inward. Jamie’s neighbor, Ben, (Donato De Luca) is a poet who is reeling from the devastating loss of his mother a year ago, and currently lives like a hermit with his brother, Luke, and sister-in-law, Alicia. When Alicia asks Jamie to reach out to Ben, Jamie sees his opportunity to appear generous and prove Elaine wrong. Slowly, Jamie starts falling for Ben. But has Jamie really changed?
This is a beautiful and emotional, character driven story. Both Jamie and Ben are written and performed so fantastically, they really come to life, and you sympathise with their problems and become invested in their story. Which in a film like this, with very little in the way of actual plot is the most important thing a writer and director needs to do. Without this connection, it would be hard to engage with the film.
For a screenwriting and directorial debut, Tom Heard hits almost every note perfectly. There is a great balance between emotional impact, sentimentality, romance and humour. And none of it feels forced or fake. Some of the minor characters, especially Ben’s brother and Sister-in-Law, could have done with a little more fleshing out and backstory, but they aren’t the focus of the film, so I understand that this isn’t necessarily a priority. Linus was a favourite of mine, around mostly for comedy relief, but able to pull of an impactful and emotional performance when needed. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that Tom Heard wrote all the songs for the film himself as well, they are all beautiful and say so much more about what Jamie is feeling than dialogue ever could, which is one of the most magical things about music in film, and music in general.
It’s hard to believe just how rarely we see gay or queer characters of any kind, represented this way in film. This story isn’t about young people exploring or discovering their sexuality, which is what a lot of queer-centric stories tend to be about. Instead this is about two openly gay men, both of whom have been in same sex relationships before. One of which is an older man, something we definitely don’t see enough of in queer films. It is great to see queer relationships represented in a this more relatable and realistic fashion. I can’t believe this is still something that has to be championed the way it is these days, when will this kind of representation become more commonplace???
Sure I had few issues with the pacing, the story does take a little while to get going. And we do wait quite some time to get the backgrounds of our main characters, until we learn the struggles they have to overcome. In places the camera work could be a little shaky, but not so much that it was distracting or off putting, just enough to be noticeable. And yes, the ending was a little predictable, but sometimes all you want from your romantic film, after all the strife and heartache, is for a happy ending.
‘Getting It’ is available to stream online now, and I highly suggest you give it go.