Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Height of duplicity

Sis and I watched Heights last night. It's the story of Isabel, Jonathan and Alec. Isabel, a wedding photographer, and Jonathan, an attorney, are to get married in a few weeks. Unknown to her, Jonathan is having an affair with Alec, an actor, who lives on the fifth floor of the same apartment building. The movie follows a day in the lives of the three and ends with Isabel discovering the truth about her fiancé.

Elizabeth Banks as Isabel gives a mellow performance. Vulnerable and credulous, she is mildly disparaging of the open relationship that her mother -- played by an exquisite Glen Close -- and father share. She believes her love with Jonathan to be life-affirming, and is willing to sacrifice great job prospects and the promise of a torrid affair with an ex for the sake of her upcoming wedding.

Jonathan is, of course, a closeted gay guy, who had a brief passionate fling with a world-renowned photographer Benjamin Stone. Stone has a reputation of sleeping with his muses, and when his current lover, a journalist, sets out to meet all his exes for a Vanity Fair cover on Benjamin, the skeletons in Jonathan's closet threaten to tumble out.

James Marsden, as the despicable, double-faced Jonathan, is quite good, though perhaps, the director could have done more with a sinister-looking man, which Marsden is not. Even so, it is impossible to feel sympathy for a man who has the nerve of ruining so many lives because "I was ashamed." Likewise for Alec, played by Jesse Bradford. Is it really so difficult still to live the life of an openly gay man in America, that too Manhattan? I don't think so. But what do I know?

So, here is to all closeted gay men who imagine they can convert themselves by sleeping with women. Just grow up already! Accept that you like man-on-man action, and stop living a lie.

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