Holding the Man

DIRECTOR: Neil Armfield

Bay Area Premiere

Sexy, beautiful, and heartbreaking, Holding the Man is based on the 1995 memoir of the same name by Australian actor, writer, and activist Timothy Conigrave, who completed the book mere days before he died. It is a love story for the ages: Tim and John Caleo fall for each other as students at a boys’ high school in Australia in the 1970s. Braving the disapproval of their families, church, and society, they continue their romance into their 20s and beyond, although career ambitions briefly lead them down separate roads. The sweeping narrative of the film, crisscrossing decades in the couple’s relationship, leaves no doubt about the irresistible magnetism drawing these men together. Mutual HIV diagnoses near the beginning of the AIDS crisis threaten to cut their perfect happiness short while also galvanizing Tim to become an AIDS activist. Even as his own health begins to fail, Tim nurses John through AIDS-related illnesses in some of the film’s most poignant scenes.

Director Neil Armfield (Candy) delivers an extraordinary cinematic experience. Tender, honest performances by the lead actors—Ryan Corr (The Water Diviner) as Tim and Craig Stott as John—are supported by several stars of Australian cinema, including Guy Pearce (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) and Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech). This powerful, emotional film is a fitting tribute to a beloved book and to two lives tragically shortened—among far too many others—by HIV/AIDS.

— Charles Purdy

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F116

Co-presented by:
The James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center
Mostly British Film Society

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