It is a grey day, the sort where the pavement, road, and sky seem to mix together in some sort of ambivalent palette. Weekend is similarly nuanced, both literally (it is set in Nottingham, after all) and figuratively. It does not assume a black-and-white perspective on romance, either a blistering passion or a sweetly happy ending – like most things in life, there is a middle ground, a grey, which Weekend occupies with startling authenticity. There is nothing false about the film, and one gets the feeling that they are not watching a film at all, but intruding into the quietly intimate and honest lives of two men, all small spaces and unsaid words. The conversational narrative follows similarly to Linklater’s Before Sunrise/Before Sunset diptych, setting an endtime to this relationship, but which amplifies the resonance of each cigarette, each phrase, and each gesture.

I hesitate to call it a ‘romance’ at all, considering how many films delight in cheap emotional manipulation and pointed direction, but Weekend truly is the most ‘romantic’ film I’ve seen in recent years – not because it relies on contrived circumstances, but is blisteringly unsentimental and utterly believable; the characters ironically poke fun at traditional heteronormative romantic film endings. The ending is perfect in its refusal to become a cliché of perfect love or soul-crushing tragedy, and realism pervades until the final frame. This is no Love, Actually, but rather love, actually – hesitation, resistance, rumination, and avoidance at all stages, all the while balancing a precarious emotional tightrope that dares to lead to happiness. There is never all-encompassing love, but the spark of a promise of something more.

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