World and Time Enough
1995, NR, 92 min. Directed by Eric Mueller. Starring Matt Guidry, Gregory G. Giles, Kraig Swartz.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., March 29, 1996
Mark (Guidry) is an artist and a radical activist. Joey (Giles) is a garbage collector who brings home stray artifacts he culls from the junk he picks up. They are a couple in their mid-twenties. Mark, who is HIV-positive, goes from sculpting small representations of cathedrals to an obsession with his actual building a real cathedral as a monument to his father. Joey, meanwhile, is involved in a search to find his birth parents, which, as a by-product, causes a riotous coming-out scene with his adoptive parents. That's about it as far as the plot goes. The only other key element is the narration of the couple's story by their friend David (Swartz). The movie continually cuts away from the action to a shot of David talking directly to the camera about his friends and the course of their lives. What's stressed is the normalcy of everything and, indeed, while this normalcy is so much of the movie's charm, it's also a major weakness. Yes, it's great to see on the screen pleasantly contented gay characters whose worst quirks include obsessive cathedral-building and satisfaction from garbage collection. Of course, there's that HIV-thing lurking in the margins, but the matter-of-factness with which that, too, is integrated into these characters' lives is also… well, ordinary. Unfortunately, “ordinary” infrequently yields good drama. And, besides, I'm not certain that “ordinary” is the sum of what first-time feature director Eric Mueller was trying to accomplish here. Though abstract and undefined, this filmed-in-Minneapolis story conveys a sense of our human need for family, friendship, and comfort in this mixed-up, crazy world, and how, when these things are not available within conventional structures, those residing on the new frontier may have to create different arrangements to suit themselves.