Caught an early screening of Robin Williams’ final film, Boulevard at the 28th Annual Connecticut LGBT Film Festival‘s opening night last evening in Hartford. So happy I was able to see this film on the big screen with a lesbian and gay audience. Kudos to the organizers for their hard work and to the selection committee for making Boulevard the opening night choice. Boulevard is an atmospheric, low-budget indie film about a 60 year-old man finally coming to terms with his homosexuality after decades in a loving but stale and passionless relationship with his wife. Williams plays Nolan who meets a male hustler one night traveling home after visiting his ailing father in a nursing home. Nolan gets sidetracked and on a whim (or perhaps this has been coming on for years) picks up the young man, pays him for services but only wants to talk to him for an hour in a hotel room. Boulevard is full of angst and sadness. Nolan’s life with wife Joy is predictable and dull. They sleep in separate bedrooms and only meet for dinner each evening. They are friends in the most reserved sense of the word. Nolan’s best friend has a younger girlfriend and appears to be grabbing hold of life – though some might think inappropriately in a way Nolan hasn’t had the courage to imagine. Boulevard boasts an excellent cast including Williams, Kathy Baker as his wife Joy, Bob Odenkirk as the best friend and newcomer Roberto Aguire as the emotionally stilted hustler boy Leo. This isn’t Robin’s best picture. But it is worth watching. There is nuance, sincerity and authenticity that only comes from a good script and direction thanks to director Dito Montiel and screenwriter Douglas Soesbe. Soesbe was in attendance last evening and gave a great Q&A after the screening. I asked when Baker’s character confronts Williams’ Nolan with a question of an affair, if she uses the male pronoun because she’s always known he is gay. Soesbe answered yes. Boulevard lags in places, doesn’t explore or explain certain aspects of character development completely and ties up the ending in too pretty of a bow for nearly everyone. I know certain friends who might appreciate that last issue more than I did. If you are a Robin Williams fan, this is a must-see. His mood haunts you throughout the scant 88 minute run time. If you love films about anyone shaking off what doesn’t work for them in life in search of something better, Boulevard will speak to you. I woke up this morning happy I saw Boulevard and missing Williams staggering talent once again. I’m giving Boulevard a 3.5 out of 5.

See what’s up next at Connecticut’s LGBT Film Festival.
Read Reel Charlie’s tribute to Robin Williams from 2014.


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