The Bay Area Reporter, a San Francisco area weekly newspaper dedicated to reporting news of interest to the LGBT community, has reviewed a recent film entitled Those People. This has just been released on DVD and is “loosely based” on Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited. The film opens with several Waugh themes woven into a “parable” retold by one of the actors:
To illustrate one of his paintings to his classmates, Charlie (Jonathan Gordon) invokes a wealthy man who owned a turtle he loved so much, he decorated its shell with expensive gems. But the weight of the jewels crushed the turtle. The parable is a commentary on 23-year-old Charlie’s obsessive relationship with his best friend Sebastian (Jason Ralph), and what can happen if one loves too much.
The film takes place in present day New York City, and its plot follows Brideshead up to a point:
Charlie is a Jewish painter from a well-to-do family finishing his thesis for a masters in fine arts. He has been pining for his handsome best friend Sebastian, who cares for him, even relies on him, yet keeps him at a distance romantically. They are part of a tight group of rich friends socializing together in various straight and gay permutations…. Sebastian, the reckless, narcissistic, uberwealthy party boy, is in crisis mode because his father, in a Bernie Madoff-like scheme, has been imprisoned for swindling his peers out of millions, becoming New York’s most hated man. Sebastian is chased by paparazzi questioning whether he knew of his father’s defrauding. He suffers drunken fits of anger, secluding himself in their swanky apartment.
Also in common with Waugh’s novel, the homoerotic theme is not explicit. It is not clear from the review by Brian Bromberger whether the film had a full theatrical release, but it does seem to have appeared in some context before being released on DVD:
Those People was one of last year’s Frameline showcase features, and it deserves the praise it received. Writer-director Joey Kuhn, who presented this film as his thesis for a film degree, is off to an auspicious start.