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The Trip

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Miles Swain

Miles Swan's romantic comedy The Trip spans 11 years, charting the lives of two men through the Gay Rights movement of the '70s, the conservative backlash of the Reagan-era, and through the AIDS epidemic. Straight, Young Republican … see full wiki

Tags: Movies
Director: Miles Swain
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about The Trip

A Timely, Sensitive Glance Over the Shoulder

  • Jan 26, 2004
THE TRIP, written and directed by Miles Swain, is now available on DVD and perhaps in this venue it will receive the wider audience it justly deserves. So many of these independent little films that deal with important historical remembrances and social issues lack the funds for a wide theatrical release and PR. Unfortunate though that may be, releasing the DVD/VHS format for home consumption is bound to drive the messages so well presented here into the forefront of our thinking - especially with the increasing specter of AIDS burgeoning around the globe.
THE TRIP is an examination of the 1970s and 1980s and while it is a fine love story between two men at opposite ends of the political spectrum, it does not come across as a 'gay-only' film. Credit Miles Swain for bringing out not only a re-creation of the drugged out, hallucinatory 70s and the development of the effects 'post-Stonewall' on gay activism, but also including important film clip reminders of the Nixon/Johnson/Reagan era with its Anita Bryants/Harvey Milks/AIDS devastation. In this setting Swain introduces an intelligent gay man named Tommy (Steve Braun) who encounters a closeted confused 'Republican misfit' Alan (Larry Sullivan) and collide with great humor in the presence of the very funny Beverly (Sirena Irwin). Alan slowly opens the closet door and he and Tommy become lovers in a solid dignified relationship. Alan is a young novelist and during his closeted years wrote a book on homosexuality in a less than friendly light. Once with Tommy, Alan manages to prevent the book's being published only to have the dragon raise its ugly head four years later. Tommy leaves, Alan opines, and then with the ever present entries of Beverly and Alan's ex-chorus girl wise mother (in a memorable performance by the beautiful Jill St. John) Alan discovers Tommy is in Mexico dying of AIDS. In a last attempt to regain his real love and mend past hurts, Alan goes to Mexico where Tommy has secluded himself. The title THE TRIP references an unfulfilled early promise of Alan and Tommy taking a Road Trip and it is this trip by car from Mexico back to the USA that ends the story.
In keeping with the authenticity of the time frames, the stars are hampered in the first half of the film with outrageous long hair wigs and clothes that make them seem caricatures at first. But as with all of the cast (including Alexis Arquette in a fine cameo) the acting is strong enough to carry us with their transformation to the fine looking people they are. This film has many hilarious moments that serve to relieve the tension from the sad moments and in the end, despite all of the reminders of the mistakes of history, we are left with a beautifully tender love story - one the brings back (for this viewer) some of the best parts of the classic film MIDNIGHT COWBOY. Well worth your time!

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