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Harry And Max Review


Weak
Possibly the creepiest thing about Harry and Max - last year's Sundance scandal - is how resolutely normal it seems, once you get past the fact that it is a story about the tortured sexual relationship between two brothers. One would imagine that a film of this kind would take us from ominously shadowed flashbacks to increasingly lurid hints that finally culminate in a debauched final revelation of the brothers' secret. But instead, writer/director Christopher Münch (The Hours and Times) shoots the whole thing in bright sunlight, usually outdoors, mostly just Harry and Max talking amiably about nothing, as brothers will do, nothing seeming at all awry. Then the fondling begins, neither of them really wanting to go through with it, yet neither wanting to stop, either. It's a portrait of a thoroughly damaged relationship that tries never to point the finger, but forgets along the way to tell a compelling story.

Harry (Bryce Johnson) and Max (Cole Williams) obviously come from a family with issues, the least of which is their mother (Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas), who has made them into bubblegum pop icons. Harry is, at 23 years old, over the hill for a boy band superstar, and trying to figure out what to do during that risky post-band/pre-solo career/Justin Timberlake phase. Right now, he's a borderline alcoholic with the requisitely distant and bitchy girlfriend, slouching towards tabloid self-destruction. Sixteen-year-old Max is the new apple of their mother's eye, his career just getting underway, due more to his cherub-like good looks than any singing ability. Harry is (to say the least) baffled by his sexuality, a blurred sort of bisexual whose identity has long been confused by all the times that he and Max fooled around when they were much younger. Max, on the other hand, is fully out of the closet, a precociously self-satisfied teen who vacillates between wanting to solve all his brother's problems and wanting to stay far away.

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