Buy “Longtime Companion Stephen Caffrey, Patrick Cassidy, Brian Cousins, Bruce Davison, Campbell Scott, John Dossett, Mary-Louise Parker, Tanya Berezin, Welker White, Michael Piontek, Joyce Reehling, Mark Lamos, Tony C. Jannelli, Norman Ren, Katherine Wenning, Lindsay Law, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Stan Wlodkowski, Craig Lucas Movies & TV” Online

Longtime Companion

The thing I remember most about this film when I saw it in the theater in 1990 was its honesty. On every level. Great care was taken to accurately depict one particular community at one particular time–when AIDS was first being diagnosed as “the gay cancer,” up through the mid-eighties, when attending monthly funerals was commonplace for gay men and their friends. Though HIV/AIDS had been around for a decade when this movie was made, there was no effort on the part of the filmmakers to whitewash the past. They not only show the ugliness of the disease, they show the ugliness of people’s response to it. Even within the gay community there was a tendency for people to fingerpoint, accusing the first victims of being more promiscuous than themselves, or more excessive users of amyl nitrate and recreational drugs. There was fear of contamination, reluctance to touch or kiss, and even intimacy within monogomous relationships was hampered. People reached deperately for New Age cures, and Louise Haye was the reigning goddess of self-healing. By choosing to depict a five-year period, the filmmakers allow the viewer to see the lives of a group of friends evolve and deepen. Some of course succumb to the disease and die, others wrestle with their losses and rethink their lives. In the end, the survivors try to become part of the solution; they become visiting volunteers and political activists. For all its authenticity, the film is not depressing. This is incredible ensemble acting at its best. Campbell Scott, Bruce Davison, and Mark Lamos give especially moving performances, but there are no slackers in this cast. By the time the movie was released, the face of AIDS was already changing and the filmmakers were criticized for focusing exclusively on gay victims. I felt then, and I continue to believe, this is a misplaced criticism. All fiction is self-limited. LONGTIME COMPANION is the story of one small group of friends who are affected by an unknown and dreadful disease; and it shows how each of them responds to the challenges thrown at them. Yes, they were wealthy or middle-class white men who spent summers together on Fire Island. But LONGTIME COMPANION is not a celebration of their insular lives. In fact, by the end of the film, one of this insular group, Campbell Scott’s character, is shown working as a home care volunteer who visits a Latino man. I think the filmmakers, like GMHC at the time, were aware that things were starting to change. It seems to me that the film’s critics, even in 1990, had forgotten that AIDS was first announced in the New York Times as “gay cancer” and later as “Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome” before being called AIDS. But that said, we need to remember that there are many other people’s stories that are worth telling, including those of people living and coping with AIDS in Africa. My only hope is that these stories will be told with all the accuracy and sensitivity that went into the making of LONGTIME COMPANION. The DVD has no significant “extras,” but the transfer is excellent. Check it out!

Hailed as the first mainstream film to put a human face on the AIDS epidemic, Longtime Companion is a “remarkable” (Newsweek) drama that takes an honest, unflinching look at how this devastating disease changes everyone it touches. “Intelligent, unflinching and unpatronizing” (Boxoffice), and starring a “terrific ensemble cast” (Time), including OscarÂ(r) nominee* and Golden Globe winner** Bruce Davison, Campbell Scott, Dermot Mulroney and Mary-Louise Parker,this heartrending yet triumphant film “is an illuminating, deeply moving experience” (Los Angeles Times). During the summer of 1981, a group of friends in New York are completely unprepared for the onslaught of AIDS. What starts as a rumor about a mysterious “gay cancer” soon turns into a major crisis as, one by one, some of the friends begin to fall ill, leaving the others to panic about who will be next. As death takes its toll, the lives of these friends are forever redefinedby an unconditional display, of love, hope and courage. *1990: Supporting Actor, Longtime Companion **1990: Supporting Actor, Longtime Companion

 

 

 

Longtime Companion Review

 

This film is an intimate look into the lives of a group of Gay men in New York at a time when people knew each other by actual association because of Gay enclaves in the city and on Fire Island versus the more removed options for socializing we have is a first rate production with compelling characters propelled by talented actors,writers,director and production. What is most interesting about this film is how far we have come societally because of the advancement of Civil Rights for LGBT people since the time of this story. Longtime Companion is a phrase borrowed from New York Times obituaries of a pre-liberation era that euphemized and minimized the full scope, depth and breadth of the love between romantic partners and good friends. Thank God we can be ourselves today and thank God we can live openly and without shame or stigma to be not only “Longtime Companions” but partners to each other and now even grooms and Husbands. (From Los Angeles). -Read Reviews-

As a gay man, I remember the excitement and pride of coming out in the early 1980’s, as well as the fear and near hysteria of the early days of the Aids epidemic. The love and compassion shared by close friends helped everyone to get by a little easier. "Longtime Companion" truly captured the essence of sharing both the compassion and great fear of that time period. Kudos to a film that never outgrows its message.

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