Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: The Boys in the Band

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Copyright: Netflix

Remakes are turning into something far more frequent than they should be, but sometimes they shed a bit of light on a film you should have watched by now. The Boys in the Band does just that, it showcases a film that has a superb premise, one where the original will, quite possibly, far exceed this updated rendition. Seven gay friends in the late 1960s begin to question their feelings for one another, digging up some home truths that they’ve hidden away for years. Stage adaptations are fascinating to me, they work so well for the likes of Glengarry Glen Ross and Sleuth, but I’m rather surprised it works for Matt Crowley’s 60s play of the same name.  

Maybe my surprise comes from that Netflix label on the front, I’m not used to seeing them create good content. This re-imagining of The Boys in the Band does little to change the setting, style, or substance of the 60s period. It’s not just the major scenes that feel like they’re moments from a time capsule, but the smaller touches are well developed too. Truly amazing costumes, camerawork that, whilst feeling standard, does a superb job of relaying the theatrical nature of this adaptation. The nuances of the camera, the lingering shots and musical cues throughout are poignant and do a superb job of showcasing the larger story at play here.  

Jim Parsons seems to take centre stage in the early moments, he steers the ship that’s for sure. A great performance from him, it’s nice to see him try and put the Big Bang Theory phase of his career behind himself. I’m still trying to put that behind me still, and The Boys in The Band helps tremendously. His performance here is marvellous, clearly the best and most memorable of his film career thus far. If this is a sign of things to come, then I’m thoroughly excited to see what he can provide us in the coming years. Alongside Parsons’ superb performance comes a great supporting role from Zachary Quinto, revelling in the opportunity to be the life and literal point of the party. Harold’s birthday is the reason these characters are here, and Harold does appear to be one of the prime reasons these seven individuals fall out of kilter with one another.  

At best, The Boys in the Band will provide a sleek, safe re-imagining of a trailblazing original. It’s a character study with vivid, engaging individuals who jab at one another’s emotions until it all, inevitably, bubbles over. Icy interactions, jealousy that shows itself for the first time in this group of friends. There are moments I would change, but when aren’t there in these Netflix movies? A great showing from everyone involved on the whole though, strong performances from unlikely candidates. Hopefully we’ll see more of those surprises in the coming years.