The Boys in the Band (2020) Review

At a birthday party in New York a surprise guest and a drunken game sees seven gay friends exploring deep feelings and facing the past.


The birthday party is for Harold who actually takes a long time to arrive due to his nature of always being late. It is held in Michael’s apartment and it quickly becomes clear that he loves being the host, the power that he gets from this and organising everything is something he clearly enjoys. Everything would be thrown into chaos when his straight college roommate named Alan turns up. Michael has always attempted to hide his true self from Alan, but something is not quite right with them.

The other guests at the party include Donald, a former flame of Michael and who just happens to have “met” Larry before, who is living with Hank who has recently left his wife! Bernard appears to hold the group together and we get larger than life Emory who probably is the unwanted stereotype of a gay man. Not forgetting the Cowboy as a present who is certainly not very bright at all.

The men have been friends for many years and that is clear by the way they are not afraid of telling each other the truth, no matter how much that hurts the other person. No holds barred comes to mind and that is something that makes for a rollercoaster of an evening. It manages to be entertaining and probably because you can think of some parties you have attended yourself where somethings just go too far and past the point of no return.

The game they become enthralled in involves calling an ex who they really loved, this could actually be someone that had no idea about it as well. A points system put in place for what they manage to say, I guess this is something we have now in terms of drunken text messages. Although actually speaking to someone must be much more traumatic.

The Boys in the Band is based on a play that premiered Off-Broadway in 1968 and saw a revival in 2018 for its 50th anniversary. Something I truly adore about films that are based on a stage play is that they are always dialogue heavy and don’t rely on much visually. Therefore the high level of script and acting is a joy to watch, I know it won’t be for everyone but I truly adore these films. This was no different and I felt as though I was spying on a birthday party that kept going wrong in so many possible ways.

One of the most amazing things is that this film is with the cast of the Broadway revival, which I think is the only way to make a film based on a play. When you think about how many nights and shows they performed as that character, the depth and level of acting that has gone into the role and then capturing all of that for a film must be so rewarding and outstanding. Another amazing and fantastic thing is that the cast is made up of all openly gay actors, something that I feel is extra important given the subject addressed throughout.

All of the performances are top quality like you would easily expect. Led by Jim Parsons who is fully engaging throughout, I really did find myself very impressed with his performance from start to finish. I felt as though you could tell how much he had become this role. The same can be said for the rest of the cast as well with Zachary Quinto being a full on scene stealer and his first appearance so being worth the wait! It really is a very different style to how I have seen him before and that was quite frankly delightful.

Each cast member was given different moments to shine and I felt that worked very well within the story. Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells were given some great lines and moments as well. Robin de Jesus, Michael Benjamin Washington, Tuc Watkins and Brian Hutchinson were given more supporting roles but all link in so well together that you really do feel like you were trespassing at the party.

I feel I have run out of superlatives to keep gushing about this film but it really is the best I have watched in a long time. Again confirming my love of stage to screen when it comes to a play and truly appreciating the amazing script that then comes with that.

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