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HANDSOME HARRY (director: Bette Gordon; screenwriter: Nicholas T. Proferes; cinematographer: Nigel Bluck; editor: Keiko Deguchi; music: Anton Sanko; cast: Jamey Sheridan (Harry Sweeny), Karen Young (Muriel), Steve Buscemi (Tom Kelly), Aidan Quinn (Prof. Porter), Campbell Scott (Dave Kagan), Titus Welliver (Gephardt), Karen Young (Muriel), John Savage (Peter Rheems); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Jamey Sheridan/Jamin O’Brien/Eric Warren Goldman/Marilyn Haft; Screen Media Ventures; 2009)
“Angst-ridden didactic guy’s film about the fear of being gay if one doesn’t act manly.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Indie filmmaker Bette Gordon(“Luminous Motion”/”Blank City”/”Variety”) helms this angst-ridden didactic guy’s film about the fear of being gay if one doesn’t act manly, and how some Vietnam War vets are years later still fueled by their macho attitude toward manhood. Writer Nicholas T. Proferes follows up on Gordon’s second film, “Luminous Motion” (2000), telling how one must accept the inevitability of change. This is a poignant film about self-discovery.

The story revolves around the title character, the 52-year-old divorced Harry (Jamey Sheridan). The loner small-town resident is a successful electrician, who is estranged from his son. Things take a drastic turn for Harry when receiving a deathbed call from Tommy (Steve Buscemi). The desperate caller, fearful of purgatory, wants forgiveness over an incident taking place when Harry and him were part of a group of Navy electricians during the Vietnam War. When the group observed David (Campbell Scott) making a pass at Harry in the shower, they gave him a beating. Tommy pleas with Harry to track down David and the disparate group members who beat him and to apologize for the group to David for the incident that occurred 32 years ago. What happens is that Harry must face again what is the truth about that incident.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”