A Very Serious Person Movie Review

Charles Busch is best known as a comedic playwright, but sometimes he takes his shows to the big screen and turns them into small-scale but entertaining oddities, Psycho Beach Party and Die, Mommie, Die being the best examples. A Very Serious Person was actually written as a screenplay, but it feels like a play: a few well-drawn characters interacting mainly within the confines of a beach-town house over the course of one meaningful summer.

The house belongs to Mrs. Aaronson (Polly Bergen), a feisty old woman who has a terminal illness and knows this will be her last summer. She's invited her 13-year-old grandson Gil (P.J. Verhoest) to spend it with her and her longtime maid and helper Betty (Dana Ivey). Gil is an interesting kid, an arts and crafts specialist who loves watching Gone With the Wind and dressing up. He's clearly on his way to being gay, and he knows it, although he's not quite sure what to do with that knowledge. Mrs. Aaronson indulges him. For her, it's not an issue. She just wishes he'd go outside long enough to learn how to swim.

Because Mrs. Aaronson can be so difficult, she has trouble keeping a nurse in her employ. That changes when the mysterious Jan (Busch), a soft-spoken gay Danish man with a long ponytail, shows up and takes over the house with stern northern European efficiency. Betty hates him, Gil is intrigued by him, and Mrs. Aaronson loves him.

It's the evolving relationship between Gil and Jan that propels the story forward. Can Gil learn anything from Jan as a gay role model/father figure? Does Jan even want to teach him? In a bit of a twist that may surprise Busch fans, Jan is reluctant to indulge Gil's blossoming homosexual tendencies. Clearly he's seen trouble in the past and urges Gil to tone it down, especially since Gil's future will be uncertain when his grandmother dies. His parents are out of the picture, and he could end up living with relatives who may not live in a particularly tolerant area. Jan ends up clashing with the local out-and-proud hairdresser over this issue. Gil is who he is, says the hairdresser, and Gil has no right to try to stifle and confuse him. Too many gay people have struggled too long to feel free to be who they are.

As the film meanders toward Grandma's inevitable demise, Gil and Jan battle over everything, come to terms with each other, and even plan a drag-themed summer show for the neighborhood. Everything is destined to end wistfully, with sighs and shrugs as opposed to sturm und drang. It's unusual for Busch to be so subdued and unfortunate that the whole exercise doesn't have a bit more zing to it. A Very Serious Person is about unusual people in unusual circumstances, but that doesn't make it particularly interesting.

We're gonna need a bigger hat.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : Peter Bobrow,

Starring : , , P.J. Verhoest,


Comments

A Very Serious Person Rating

" Weak "

Rating: NR, 2006

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Surprise, Surprise: Thanks To Marvel, Robert Downey Jr. Continues His Reign As Hollywood's Richest Actor

It’s that time of the year again. With Forbes having published its...

Surprise, Surprise: Thanks To Marvel, Robert Downey Jr. Continues His Reign As Hollywood's Richest Actor

Simpsons Mania: FXX To Put Every Episode Online

American cable network FXX struck a deal last year to buy the rights to the...

Simpsons Mania: FXX To Put Every Episode Online

Beyonce Fends Off Divorce Rumours With Cute Instagram Snap

Rumours that a seperation is imminent have plagued the music power couple...

Beyonce Fends Off Divorce Rumours With Cute Instagram Snap

Justin Bieber Could Face Citizen's Arrest

After being called out six times to break up a rowdy party at his new digs in Beverely Hills, the police...

Justin Bieber Could Face Citizen's Arrest

J.J Abrams Reveals New X-Wing Fighter in New Star Wars Episode VII Video [Pictures]

J.J Abrams treated Star Wars fans to a look at a new model of the iconic...

J.J Abrams Reveals New X-Wing Fighter in New Star Wars Episode VII Video [Pictures]

'Boyhood' has 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. It Is Almost the Perfect Movie

It's no surprise that Richard Linklater's movie Boyhood was this week...

'Boyhood' has 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. It Is Almost the Perfect Movie
Advertisement

Once Upon A Time To Add Hans to Frozen Storyline

It was announced earlier this year that ABC series 'Once Upon A Time' would be...

Once Upon A Time To Add Hans to Frozen Storyline

Did Selena Gomez Dash Off To St Tropez To Bask In A New Relationship?

I don’t know about you, but she’s feeling 22… Selena Gomez just turned...

Did Selena Gomez Dash Off To St Tropez To Bask In A New Relationship?

The Sound Of Seattle: Budweiser Made In America See How Music Has Changed In The Noisy City

Seattle has one of the most legendary music scenes in America so...

The Sound Of Seattle: Budweiser Made In America See How Music Has Changed In The Noisy City


More recommendations

Advertisement