USA, 2000, 117 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Gay, Parenting / Family
Program: Michael Lumpkin RetrospectiveLanguage: English
DIRECTOR: Thomas Bezucha
Thomas Bezucha’s Big Eden drove the Frameline audience wild when Michael Lumpkin brought it to the Castro screen in 2000, bringing down the house and garnering the audience prize for favorite feature. It’s easy to see what the cheering was all about: Writer-director Bezucha created a gay fantasy that rings amazingly true. On one level it’s a story many of us know firsthand: a story of a gay man forced to leave the safety of his big city ghetto to return to his less cosmopolitan and possibly less tolerant hometown. But in Big Eden, that small town turns out to be an Eden indeed — a place where a frazzled gay guy from New York can find acceptance, fulfillment and even true love. As prodigal son Henry, Arye Gross captures viewers’ hearts as a lost soul who is a stranger in his own hometown. Struggling to come out to his family and to his old high school flame Dean (Tim DeKay), and now a divorced dad with two sons, Henry fails to notice that Pike (Eric Schwieg), the Native American who runs the town store, has fallen head over heels in love with him. But everybody else in Big Eden soon figures out what’s going on, and before you know it the townsfolk (including Oscar winner Louise Fletcher as Grace) are pitching in to assure a happy ending for all.
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