Parting Glances (1986)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Gay & Lesbian Films, Tragi-comedy  |   Release Date - Feb 19, 1986 (USA)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brian J. Dillard

A minor classic of both gay and independent cinema, this smart, sad, and funny ensemble piece gave Steve Buscemi his first film role and writer/director Bill Sherwood his only feature credit -- he died of AIDS in 1990. Loopily episodic in structure, Parting Glances nevertheless accumulates emotional gravity and narrative momentum as it drifts from one well-heeled gay Manhattan milieu to another. From chic loft parties that chronicle the remains of New York's hip downtown scene to formal dinners where Bloomsbury marriages receive sly if complicit ridicule, the film gathers a wide cross section of queer hipsters and sophisticates whose lives are all touched, if only glancingly, by the twin specters of AIDS and urban loneliness. Many critics have pointed out that Buscemi's AIDS-afflicted punk makes the most indelible impression, and it's true that he gives the picture its emotional center, but it's the interconnectedness of these characters, from the naïve but cute cashier to the lovers who can't learn to live happily together, that makes Parting Glances such a luminous pleasure.