Spare, elegiac, and beautifully crafted, this AIDS drama benefits immensely from its tiny cast, gorgeous upstate New York setting, and episodic plot, all of which put maximum focus on the actors and the emotional nuances between their characters. Glenn Close and David Strathairn pick up the silences, compromises, and subliminal connections of a well-to-do married couple with consummate ease. Bridget Fonda glides briskly through her supporting role as their brittle yuppie daughter, while Robert Sean Leonard emanates resignation and the hope for reconciliation as the AIDS-stricken son who's come home to die. Even Whoopi Goldberg, in the stereotypical African-American enabler role of the nurse, who shepherds Close's character from denial to acceptance, turns in a serene, lovely performance in only a few minutes of screen time. Adapted by Will Scheffer from Alice Elliott Dark's acclaimed short story, In the Gloaming marked a promising debut for actor-turned-director Christopher Reeve. Released the same year as the overwrought Twilight of the Golds, another made-for-cable tale about a monied family struggling with homosexuality, this is one of the truest and least sanctimonious AIDS films yet produced.
by Brian J. Dillard review