Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The 25th Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival 2015 - Review By Greg Klymkiw - An Absolute Must-See of the Festival: LIMITED PARTNERSHIP ****

Limited Partnership (2014)
Dir. Thomas G. Miller

Review By Greg Klymkiw

For a married couple to live in fear of being torn apart by fascist government officials, 24 hours a day, everyday, for over 40 years is absolutely unfathomable to me, but Limited Partnership, Thomas G. Miller's powerful, gut-wrenching portrait of love under attack comes about as close as any film could to putting one in the shoes of those innocents who experienced prejudice, hatred and cold, calculated castigation.

This is not some Third World country (though these days, that's open to debate) or blood-thirsty dictatorship (though these days, that's open to debate) or, say, Russia (never open to debate). What we experience in this film happened within a democracy (though these days, that's open to debate), the leading world power (though these days, that's open to debate), the land of the free (though these days, that's open to debate), the home of the brave (though these days, that's open to debate), the United States of America (never open to debate, but the country hides its hatreds a teensy-weensy bit better than Russia).

It's a beautifully crafted documentary with a superbly edited narrative arc. If it were a drama, screenwriting gurus like Syd Field and Robert McKee would be slavering over it. Ultimately though, it happily wanders enough off the beaten path that one never feels the picture is, in any way, shape or form a run-of-the-mill exercise. In fact, the movie slowly takes you surprise with its tone and structure. At first, you're following along, feeling like you're watching a decent "journalistic" style TV doc about an interesting subject, but all that dissipates as director Miller plunges you into the thick of his deftness and artistry as a filmmaker and soon enough, you're torn apart and dazzled - in equal parts - by his eventually "silent" filmmaking which leads you on the journey of its subjects to the point where you're so involved that you feel their emotional roller coaster ride to the very end.

Most people will have a cursory knowledge of the tale; two men, one American, one Australian, meet in the early 70s within a happening L.A. gay bar, fall madly in love and later, hightail it to the glorious "Centennial State" of Colorado (with the coolest flag in all America).

A forward-thinking clerk in Boulder, is issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and our couple, the quiet, gorgeous, smoothly textured Filipino-born, American-raised Richard Adams and hunky, square-jawed, flamboyantly erudite Australian Tony Sullivan (Adams reminds me of 90s HK superstar Simon Yan whilst Sullivan seems a perfect cross between Russ-Meyer-Roger-Corman stalwart Charles Napier with healthy dashes of Richard Harris) get hitched - legally.

Like, Hello! This is over 40 years ago.

However, when the couple applies to make Aussie Sullivan a naturalized U.S. citizen, they are denied - OFFICIALLY - on the grounds that they "have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots."

So in spite of being legally married, the federal government refuses to recognize it and thus begins a harrowing 40+ years battle which, under the helmsmanship of director Miller, plays out as both a tremendously moving love story and an edge-of-the-seat political thriller.

This is an important film and an absolute must-see for its subject matter as well as its filmmaking prowess. It's also worth noting that films like this would not exist without the very brave support of American public television genuinely independent voice [ITVS] and its [i]ndependent lens series. A few things in America are good.


Limited Partnership is playing at the Inside Out 2015 Toronto LGBT Film Festival. For further info, please visit the festival's website by clicking HERE.