Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Torch Song Trilogy (1988)


“Give yourself time, Arnold. It gets better... But, Arnold, it never goes away.” 

            Not too many movies have ever left an emotional impact. Sure plenty have left an impact with their artistry or storytelling or direction but never really emotionally. Well, I should not say “never” I recently really connected emotionally with The Giant Mechanical Man. For the second time I have emotionally connected with a movie with Torch Song Trilogy.
            Arnold Beckhoff (Harvey Fierstein) is a female impersonator. He is a man with deep feelings who love fiercely and just wants someone to love him back unconditionally. After a show one night he feels he has found the man he has been longing for in Ed. But it turns out Ed is not as comfortable with his sexuality as Arnold is. Ed has never told his parents or his roommate that he is bisexual. When Arnold confronts him one night and makes him choose and Ed decides to go the way the world wants him to go.
            Arnold is left heartbroken for a while until he meets a young man named Alan (Matthew Broderick). Alan is the man Arnold has been waiting for. He loves Arnold and unlike Ed is comfortable with himself and comfortable with Arnold. They plan on spending the rest of their lives together and put in to adopt a child.
            Just when Arnold’s life seems to be going how he imagined it everything gets taken away from him. Ed comes back into his life as a friend and even asks to get back together. His mother (Anne Bancroft) has never embraced his lifestyle and sees it as blasphemous that he mourns for Alan when she had been with his father for thirty-five years before he died. Arnold has it out with his mother once and for all.

            There is a lot more to the story. It is very emotional and sentimental. There was not one weak moment in the entire the movie. Harvey Fierstein wrote an incredible story. You can feel all of Arrnold’s hurt and heartache and love. I watched Torch Song Trilogy for Anne Bancroft (and let me tell you she does not in any way disappoint she was flawless. And for the first time ever I did not like a character she was playing! She was that good!). I had no idea what the story was about. Even if I did read the back of the DVD before hand or looked up the plot it would not have stopped me from seeing it. But I am glad I did not know the story. I am glad I just went into this movie without knowing anything about it. I had no preconceived notions or expectations for it (For quite a few of the movies I have been watching lately I have had no idea what their plots were and they have been so much more enjoyable to watch) and I believe that made me connect to the story and characters a bit better than I would have.  
            Torch Song Trilogy has a story that resonates today. I feel terrible for men and women in the LGBTQ community who struggle with who they are because of society or their families. I felt terrible for Arnold how he only ever had one person in his life who fully accepted him for who he was. I am not part of the LGBTQ community and to feel for Arnold and his situation and his want of love and relate to his story you do not have to be. You just have to be human. If you are human or even if you simply enjoy a well written and well acted movie absolutely watch Torch Song Trilogy