“Life After Ex”
A Gay Romantic Comedy
Writer/Director Jim Fields introduces us to Dylan who is newly single after the breakup of his marriage. He has already dealt with the repercussions and is now determined to find his perfect partner. We are with him on his search. Now I am well aware that the title of this review is “a gay romantic comedy” but I must qualify that by saying this is really not a comedy but rather a dramatic look at life after a relationship falls apart and the search is on for a new one. If there is comedy here, it is from the way we perceive what is happening. We know how this will all end for Dylan as he travels on the road to love with all of its stops and errors before he finds what he is looking for. This is not a new story—we have seen it and heard it before; we might have even experienced it ourselves. There are comedic elements to Dylan being the one suffering but I see him more as an everyman since most of us have been, at least once, where he. It’s also interesting that since we know the story, we do not really expect the kind of enjoyment that we get from the film. However, we do love it when the sad hero comes out on top. And as for this being a gay movie, it is such because the characters are gay but the plot is universal to all people—- the quest for love is an experience that has no gender or sexual boundaries.
Dylan Holm (Nicklaus Knipe) is a young web designer whose marriage Steve (Spencer Wolfe) has fallen apart and we understand that this has to do with Steve’s having a drug problem as well as other issues. Legal divorce was not yet possible because the film was made before gay marriage was legal everywhere in this country. Therefore Dylan has to move to another place in order to be legally divorce and he must reside there for a year. Dylan begins searching for a for a new boyfriend as soon as he is settled in. We see that Dylan is lonely and we cheer him on (back to my idea of the gay everyman). He is the kind of person that not only wants love but needs love and, because of this, we root for him.
We are with him as he meets new friends and lovers, finds a new husband and becomes a new man. There are no surprises, everything happens as we thought it would. I suppose the message here is that there is someone for everyone to love, we just have to find who that it is. Even with its minor faults this is a movie about love that the audience will love.
This is not a perfect film, it is a low-budget look at love with its many clichés. By and large, the acting is uniformly good and Dylan is the kind of guy you want to hug. I really enjoyed the way the relationship between Dylan and John (Justin Parker) was presented in that it seemed totally natural. I also enjoyed the way the actors worked together and we can see this film as a labor of love. There have been a lot of new films lately but I have to say that this is a special one and I am not yet sure why but I bet it has something to do with the way we live and love.