Every relationship is exciting at the beginning as you get to know each other, you’re madly in love and can’t get enough of your partner. However, after a while, the excitement might decrease and so you try everything you can to get that spark back. Whether it’s going on holiday to unknown places, to do things that are out of your comfort zone or spice things up in your bedroom. That latest is exactly what Mark and his boyfriend Tommy do. Director Hongyu Li (“Twins”, “Can’t Stop the Feeling”) turned this idea into a new short film “Hank”. One that became a very enjoyable and touching LGBT movie.
After being married for 15 years, Hank (Jason Stuart) and his husband Tommy (Jay Disney) are trying everything they can to save their failing marriage. One of the possible solutions they try is entertaining the idea of an open relationship. It’s not uncommon for them to bring in another gentleman, who most of the time is a lot younger. On the surface, it seems going fine because of the love for each other but it soon looks like Hank has more problems with the “open relationship” concept. Not only because of the changes that this brings to their lives but also the fact that he gets older and that he has to battle against the younger and more attractive men. Doesn’t know how to cope with his feelings, he’s joining a meeting to talk about it. Another attendee Hunter (William Nicol) shows a lot of interest in Hank, who’s taking it as a wonderful compliment. Will this be the man who’s going to safe Mark and Tommy’s relationship or will it be a marriage that can’t be saved?
At the beginning of the year, “Hank” was part of the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and very recently it was programmed at the Oscar-qualifying Palm Springs International ShortFest and pretty sure that more festivals will follow as the movie involves some important topics. First of all, it’s an LGBTQ related film in which is shown that everyone is equal, no matter your orientation. This is being beautifully represented during the meeting where everyone’s sitting in a circle and where everyone is welcome. From gay men to lesbians to transgenders. If only the world could be as inclusive as that. Secondly, the film also reminds us that every relationship, no matter whether it’s a failing one like the one from Hank and Tommy or a flourishing one, it’s a matter of give and take without losing your own personality.
If there’s one thing that the two leading men have, it’s personality. A big one but at the same time also a vulnerable one. Especially Hank whose soft, sensitive and sweet but also determined and resolute side is coming to life thanks to Jason Stuart (“The Infiltrators”, “The Fare”) his talented performances. Opposite Stuart, there’s Jay Disney (“Broken Ceiling”, “Kill Game”) who’s putting on a more harsh, rough and manly display as Tommy who’s clearly not afraid of going after what or who he wants. No matter the consequences for his marriage.
If you weren’t able to catch “Hank” during one of its festival screenings, then you should cross your fingers that the film will get another chance to shine on the big screen. You would see a wonderful and delicate film that tells an emotional story and that’s brought to life by poignant performances.
Film and Celebrity Reporter Liselotte Vanophem