Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Holding The Man – 2015

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Release: 2015

Directed By: Neil Armfield

Produced By: Kylie Du Fresne

Written By: Tommy Murphy (based upon 1995 novel of the same name)

Starring: Ryan Corr, Craig Scott, Anthony LaPaglia, Guy Pearce, Geoffrey Rush

Running Time: 127 Minutes


Timely Romeo & Romeo Story Sadly Remains Relevant Today.


2015 has been a pivotal time for breaking down barriers of love. The United States have legalised same-sex marriage, while Australians are pestering their government to do the same.
An Australian drama entitled Holding The Man (based on the 1995 book written by Timothy Conigrave) has come along to shed a new and confronting light on love, telling the story of two private school boys who controversially fell in love and faced the immense struggles together, hand in hand.
A drama that can be seen as a direct statement to conservative audiences, Holding The Man is more than a story about desire and forbidden love, it is a tragic tale of loss, torment and grief that is emotionally driven by two fantastic leads.

Timothy Conigave (Ryan Corr) is a theatre-oriented student at Xavier College who begins to show an interest in fellow student John Caleo (Craig Scott), a sportier type who one day suffers a serious injury playing football.
After Timothy decides to approach John and befriend him, the two develop a bond that soon becomes something more romantic. After friends, family and the members of the school board find out about the two boys via a confiscated letter, relationships are damaged, perceptions are altered and the couple’s lives are forever changed.

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Ryan Corr may be an unfamiliar face to international audiences, however for Australians, he’s recognised mostly for his roles in television series such Packed To The Rafters and Blue Water High. Corr has matured into an upstanding actor with particularly impressive actings qualities that will no doubt see him gravitate to bigger and better things in the future.
As Timothy, the requirements of Corr were significant as he would be undertaking a multi-layered, multi-faceted individual who lives numerous lives throughout the picture. Burdened with the brunt of the films dialogue, Corr excels in the very challenging, chronicled role where others may have very well crashed and burned.
Playing off his co-star Scott superbly, there is a genuine belief in the characters as a pair who are very much in love. Although Corr’s Timothy evolves from a more internal aspect, it’s Scott that changes the most throughout the picture, which is also, if not more difficult to accomplish.
His efforts are transformative, and although starting rather slowly, he pulls out a magnificent emotionally-driven performance.

Holding The Man is unrelenting as far as graphic scenes are concerned, however the confronting nature of said scenes are necessary in the storytelling and character development. The story is one centred on discovery, embrace and unity, so it’s to be expected that some passion is to be exhibited, especially when the love is real and defiant against restriction.
The film is very well shot, with many shots lingering and remaining stationary with the intent on telling a story in itself.
For example, a brilliant piece of cinematography showcases how two stories become like a venn diagram and slightly cross over one another during a scene shot outside looking in through a window. The shot is around a minute long but is engrossing and immersive to watch unfold. This is just one of many beautiful images to witness within the film.

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Although running for 127 minutes, the film feels as if it is in fact 150. This is not an issue, but a compliment in a strange sense as the slow-paced nature of the film allows a fully rounded story to be told, so much so that the audience’s concept of time is thrown out the window. It feels long, but not as long as you’d think given all that has been covered.
This is a credit to the screenwriters who have been able to evenly spread out the story across several time periods and not leave anything underdeveloped in the process.

The cast consists of bigger names than its two central leads. The likes of Anthony LaPaglia, Guy Pearce and Geoffrey Rush all have parts to play with the film, however between Pearce and Rush, a total of approximately 6 minutes of screen time is occupied.
LaPaglia has a bigger role to play, and is a far more interesting character, however his input is marginally greater than the aforementioned pair.
Ultimately, although world-class talent is on show, it feels as if they’re under-utilised, so much so that it becomes a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ situation.

Holding The Man is a powerful Australian drama that doesn’t deserve to go unnoticed. Timely, effective and challenging in many aspects, the film is another impressive example of the direction Australian cinema and younger talent are heading. Strong in its intentions and performed so powerfully by Corr and Scott, this is one that will assist in altering outdated mindsets about equality without a doubt.

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