“The Love Patient”
I can’t think of too many films that I love from the moment I begin watching but I must say that Michael Simon’s “The Love Patient” had me from the moment it began. Everything about it is very professional and the actors are beautiful to look at. Romantic comedy can be a very tricky genre since the film industry has been so filled with them. Finding something new cannot be too easy and balancing romance with comedy can be somewhat hard to do. Michael Simon does it and does it with style. How often does one watch a film with a smile on his face all the way through? I was very lucky that no one dropped in because I grinned all the way through the film.
The story is simple. Paul (Benjamin Lutz) is an advertising executive who lost his boyfriend, Brad (John Werskey who is very easy on the eyes) when he dumped him and Paul has never gotten over this. Brad moved on and is dating Ted (Jackson Palmer) and he understands that what was is over. Paul, on the other hand, cannot get over the loss of Brad and it is even more difficult in that they work at the same place. Paul comes up with a scheme to get Brad back– he stages his own cancer diagnosis and he thinks that Brad will come back to him out of sympathy. But then Paul’s whole mispoocha (family—mother, father and sister) move into his house so they will be there to nurse him through his chemo treatments. Stephanie, Paul’s very rich sister, suspects something is not kosher and the fun begins. The scene with the family eating dinner on a Friday evening won me over totally. Mother Esther lights the Sabbath candles and Paul says, “Enough with the Judaism”. I laughed uncontrollably but there is something very serious here– how we turn to religion when we need something… like a cure for cancer.
I love, love, love this movie and the mixture of grief (from cancer), love, laughs and fun is absolutely wonderful. The characters are outrageous but believable. The acting is fine with just the right amount of kitsch; the cinematography is beautiful and Simon’s direction is excellent. The film premieres at Philadelphia’s QFest this summer so if you are around, make sure you see it or you will have to wait for a DVD release and as far as I know there is no information on that. Werskey and Lutz are also in another film on the festival circuit this summer, “Bite Marks” which I also recently reviewed. The two films are totally different in every aspect and we are very lucky when we get a GOOD gay romantic comedy as they are few and far between. So I ask myself, what happens when you put good looking men together with a literate plot, excellent direction and fine acting? You get a hit and that is exactly what “The Love Patient” is.