Alive and Kicking (1996)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Medical Drama, Gay & Lesbian Films, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Jun 23, 1997 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Indian Summer (aka Alive and Kicking) is a reasonably involving examination of sexual mores and strategies for facing the inevitable in the age of AIDS among London's gay community. It has an interesting take on its central disease-time romance: that both the lithe dancer (Jason Flemyng) and the compact counselor (Antony Sher) are using one another, with the former getting a bedside mourner who will prevent him from dying alone, and the latter getting a hunky status symbol and sexual fantasy. The two actors have a playful chemistry, and their relationship develops in believable strides. There's also a harsh historical realism about the film, as it dramatizes the fact that a once-vibrant, and relatively incestuous, dance company has been decimated to the point of going under by a disease picking off its members one by one. While the windows into this world are illuminative, Indian Summer doesn't introduce new dialogue to the AIDS discussion, leaving it short of real importance. However, by addressing the illness with wit instead of despair, Nancy Meckler's film avoids some of the sappier pitfalls of other disease movies. The result is a spry love story with just enough wistful portent to make it occasionally moving.