“WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH GERALD?”— A Social Comedy

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“What’s The Matter With Gerald?”

A Social Comedy

Amos Lassen

Matt Riddlehoover’s “What’s the matter with Gerald?” is a social comedy about wealthy Gerald (Jacob York), a “Hush Fund baby” who is basically paid by his father to keep a low profile about his sexuality. Gerald is a bit overweight and completely neurotic. He is involved in a comfortable relationship with the business orientated gay republican Charles (Jonathan Everett). They live a regular life in Nashville, Tennessee.

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At the suggestion of a friend at a cocktail party, Gerald seeks the advice of a mysterious jeweler May (Kathy Cash). Not long afterwards, Gerald begins his spiritual and sexual reawakening after using crystals to enhance his life and to broaden his horizons. Those horizons include cruising a handsome young jogger (Daniel Choico).

Gerald has complicated and somewhat dependent relationship with his wealthy and snobbish mother Doris (Claudia Church) is another problem that he has to solve. This is Gerald’s story of his reawakening through a series of events brought on by his chance meeting with May who tells him that most men only do not become mature until age 50.

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Matt Riddlehoover has brought us seven feature films and a couple of shorts are all good examples of “boy-lite cinema” (They are all reviewed here at reviewsbyamoslassen.com).  His films are stories of contemporary gay men just trying to get their act together. Gerald doesn’t real have a job aside from worrying about his own wellbeing. His live-in partner of ten years Charles (Jonathan Everett)  is so wrapped up in himself, and his business which takes him away often, and his gay republican buddies, that he  can really cannot stand being in the same room with Gerald.

At first, Gerald is very skeptical about May’s methods but when he starts to see the changes in his well-being that May predicted, he takes her and the whole process very seriously indeed.  She helps empower Gerald to find his own way forward.   Gerald starts seeing the ghost of one of his ex- boyfriends, Scott (Angel Luis)  who is unimpressed with seeing hat Gerald feeling sorry for himself and he gently nudges him to take action. Sure, this is something of a fairy tale but the characters are likable and convincing and we begin to care about them. The performances are quite good.  

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We soon understand that what the real matter with Gerald is that is not that he has forgotten how to live and how to love and he has lost his ability to differentiate between what is worth striving for and what is not.  He has to understand that until he loves himself, he will never be capable of loving someone else. Now this is a serious aspect off life but when relayed to us humorously we enjoy the experience. When the film is over we are left with the idea that Gerald will be okay.

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