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  • ...for performances. For white-and-black image. For a story who reflects the rhytm and atmosphere and expectations of a period. For message. And for the emotions ball after its end. A confession - film . Not original, not great. But useful and beautiful. Bitter and large circles of problems, from motherhood and fatherhood to old close friendship and relation between brothers, from gay life and coming up challenge to shadows from "Death of a Salesman" to the indie love stories. Short, a film for feel it. The job of Jamie Chung and Virginia Madsen defines, in splendid way, this special-special drama.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It was the darkest of times to be gay, and compassion for those ill with and killed by AIDS was rarely to be found. We had a president who wouldn't even speak about it and speculated the plague was god's will. There was a lot of fear and misinformation about how the virus was transmitted.

    I found it a rather healing thing to see a movie about compassion and not anger. A closeted son with AIDS returns after several years to visit his conservative hometown, following the death from AIDS of his partner. He lost his job because someone found out and maxed out his credit cards to buy nice and thoughtful gifts for his family. He is in effect saying goodbye and struggling with whether to tell them the truth of who he is.

    He never does. It turns out his father knew, and though not able to accept it, still establishes that he will be there for his son. It turns out his mother knew in the way that mother's know, and hopes she will handle it well when it comes out into the open between them. His high school friend/girlfriend didn't know, but he finally tells her in the hopes his younger brother will eventually know the truth about him. His younger brother is too young for us to know if he may or may not be gay, but it is clear that his interests in drama and pop music are not the norm for his conservative area.

    For me, the most powerful moment in the film was when the son was packing to leave and tosses the nice bible his father gave him for christmas into his suitcase. He hears his father arguing with his mother about putting on the fancy coat the son bought the father for christmas. The mother asks him to put it on for her, if he won't put it on for their son, just to make the son feel good. The father doesn't. The son, saying goodbye to his father (who once again makes the point that he will be there for his son), does his own version of "putting on the coat" and says he read the bible the father had given to him and was going to try to be a better person.

    I found it healing to be able to look at the era from a perspective other than rage. Thank you to all involved for your work on the film.
  • This film is quite good. The movie portrays the struggle with being gay and the family dynamics during the AIDS crisis in 1985, but not with a flashy Hollywood style, but from a realistic and personal side.
  • rse8 January 2019
    If you lived through it (like I did) the film will wrench your heart. I thought black-and-white was a good idea because it certainly was a black era in the US.
  • I really loved the movie, it made me cry a lot and made me think about it many days after. It was quite confusing to me, and there could have been more "power" in the film, meaning that at some scenes, it seemed a bit weak, which is why I'm not giving it a full 10. I really liked the grey and white filter and how it's all kind of building up to the moment of truth. Overall, really great and beautiful film.
  • 1985 (2018) was written and directed by Yen Tan. It stars Cory Michael Smith as Adrian, a young gay man who is out of the closet in NYC, but still in the closet in Fort Worth. Adrian is handsome and athletic. He doesn't look or act like the stereotyped version of a gay man.

    His parents are working class evangelicals. All they want is for Adrian to marry Carly, the girl friend he left behind. (Jamie Chung, a Korean-American portrays Carly. It's interesting that no one objects to Adrian marrying an Asian-American woman.) Virginia Madsen plays Eileen, Adrian's loving mother. Michael Chiklis portray's Adrian's father Dale, who fulfills the stereotyped image of a tough, blue-collar right-wing guy.

    This movie could have been a simple coming-out story, but it isn't. There are complexities within each character, and there are unexpected moments of love and concern.

    We saw this film at The Little Theatre, as part of ImageOut, the excellent Rochester LGBT Film Festival. It will work well on the small screen.

    1985 carries a weak IMDb rating of 6.8. I think it's better than that.

    P.S. In a brilliant piece of programming, ImageOut showed the movie "Buddies" on the same day as it showed 1985. Buddies was produced in 1985. It was the first movie that openly referred to the HIV/AIDS crisis. The year 1985 was a really bad year to be gay.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    3 years earlier, as soon as he could, Adrian left his conservative home in Fort Worth, seeking his fortune (and himself) in New York City. Now he has returned for Christmas, to a father who is a Vietnam vet, a mother who is a closet liberal, and younger brother Andrew who has disappointed their father by dropping out of football to join the drama club.

    Adrian is trying to find an opening to tell his family his secrets - that he is gay, and he is dying. He already has seen his lover and friends die, and he himself is showing signs of KS. It is easier to tell a childhood female friend, and to record a cassette tape with a hopeful message for Andrew on his gift - a Walkman with a recording function.

    The story has parallels with It's Only the End of the World, but in this case the disease is more explicit. Also, while the parents may not approve, they may still be loving, and individually voice some degree of support.

    I saw this at the Inside Out film festival, and got 2 takeaways from the Q+A. Shooting in black-and-white reduces background distractions and focuses on the characters' faces. Also, at an earlier screening, the director came face-to-face with a family where reality fit the fiction - a mother with 2 gay sons, the older one dead of AIDS, the younger married to another man.
  • Don't read any plot before you watch the film , let you simply walk into his life , fell for him and follow the flows ! And you will be moved and touched by the 1985 !
  • alemagico31 October 2018
    Warning: Spoilers
    I remember watching the short film a few month's back. It was wonderful and looking how Adrian was hiding his sickness coz he didn't wanted to harm his family with it in his own way was strong to look at. In the movie (for me it feels like the next ARC of the story) he reunites again with his family after 3 years without visiting them. Lot of secrets will break loose making Lester decide if it's time to open up to his parents and little brother Andrew or stay shut.

    The acting is phenomenal. Cory Michael Smith is a bright light on this film. He has talent and charisma. He makes "Adrian Lester" feels SO real is surreal.

    Jamie as the ex-girlfriend is another surprise. It's mix feelings when you talk of this character. So complicated yet so refreshing. Is a must watch.

    Michael and Virginia as the parents are marvelous! They bring a unique performance making you wonder why till this day parents like this exist. The ones who support you even if it's hard in their heads to understand what you want for yourself and life in general.

    Aidan as Andrew is also a gift to watch. This kid has a bright future. Awesome job!

    Music Score: they need to sell a soundtrack or make a way we can keep appreciating this masterpiece. It gives you the chills and make every scene make you feel powerless. You will even CRY!

    More people should see this gem of a movie. It's out of clichés, feels 100% new and the story itself it's stunning. I totally recommend it.

    • Alexandra aka Lilianetty
  • pekleberry1 January 2019
    Wholesome and heartbreaking all at once. One of the most beautiful films I've even seen.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film manages to be devastating without actually showing, or explaining much tragedy, at all. Oh, but you just know it. And, it doesn't stop tearing your heart out, either. Weeks later, and I still can't stop from crying every time I so much as think of the ending.

    Some people will think black and white is boring. But, it plays an important role in this movie. Everything about this movie is meant to be a memory. It tries to trick you, though. It wants you to believe that the memories belong to the older brother, until at the end we realize that these are tears of the younger sibling.

    Some people might think the subject matter is outdated, and historical. However, this is still very much a real problem for some people. This problem isn't going away, and we need to remind ourselves what it can cost us.

    Personally, I think it's one of the best movies ever made, because of the cleaver use of so many tricks and unconventional elements. It manages to force us to confront things we all hide within ourselves, and it manages to do this without bringing that into the narrative. It merely implies some things, and allows your own mind to fill in the blanks. This allows the audience to decide for themselves how they feel about these things. It never preaches, or even demonstrates. It actually makes the whole situation even more relatable, that way. It's absolutely ingenious! A true work of fine art. The way this film manages to force the audience to confront this subject on such a deep and personal level allows us to really think about, and understand the matter a lot better. Personally, I think that's something people need to do.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    1985 is an intense dive into a dysfunctional family dynamic that has drained some part of the life out of each member of the family. We can guess fairly early on that Adrian is sick and suspect he is gay, but by not clearly expressing it early on, the film asks us to examine the family more universally. Done in black and white and mostly tight close up shots, you can experience some of the tension and claustrophobia of each family conversation. You know you've been there at some point in your own life. You want to say something but it will disappoint Dad and hurt Mom deeply so you stall and stall and eventually say nothing. I found the scenes with the ex girlfriend the least satisfying and awkward. However she plays an important part for the future of the younger brother, for whom I felt great sadness. He really needs his big brother, but Adrian needed his own chance at freedom and moved away. On this visit Adrian tries to reestablish some connection with his brother while protecting him from the consequences of his decisions since fleeing the family home.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really wanted to like it. I would have welcomed having a (strong) emotional response. It is an important time period. But... just too many silly plot holes and hard to believe character moments and interactions. Hmmmm... a grown man taking a bath and having tea with his mother in the bathroom with him?? The deus ex machina of Jesus-freak Dad tracking his son down in NYC and discovering he is gay months before the Christmas visit in the film but this not causing a reaction until the third act?? The loving little brother who sleeps through the big brother's final (literally) departure just so the screenwriter can have him listen to a tape from older brother later?? And, finally, the big brother just ASSUMING little brother is gay because he quit football and became a drama club nerd, and leaving him the aforementioned tape recording assuring him "don't worry, there are other people like you out there." Heart strings, tug... Presumptuous, much? I loved the "1985" short film but this film is a failed attempt to pull heart strings.
  • In 1985, Adrian Lester (Cory Michael Smith) goes home for Christmas to visit his conservative Texas family. He struggles to come out of the closet to his father (Michael Chiklis) and mother (Virginia Madsen). He reconnects with his childhood love Carly (Jamie Chung). He reluctantly tells her about his devastated life in NYC and fears the news surfacing to his beloved younger brother Andrew.

    It's a black and white indie. It's reminiscent of a 1985 indie. Its style is static. With B/W, Adrian holding back secrets, and the static shooting style, it does have the sense of sadness and death but it also has a sense of a slow grind. Texas has great visual potential but this is not doing any of that. The problem with holding the secret for so long is that it forces the movie into stall mode. There is a reason why Adrian and Carly together have the best scenes. It would have been better to come out of the closet early and then reveal the darker secret later. With the oppressing black and white, I would have liked some color to accentuate some of the scenes. Overall, there are some compelling scenes but the style is too static.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    HIV/AIDS became the highlighted disease of the '80s w/the mid '80s particularly in the public vision. So this film on a son visiting his conservative church going religious parents & younger brother trying to find some last bit of love while debating how to tell them he's going to die. Typical church reactions to those who stray. "No forgiveness in hell." "Whatever goes to hell, stays in hell." A similar movie just watched "Transformer" about a transgender weightlifter covered many of the same intolerance issues.
  • minicolic1 January 2020
    Made me sob, it's so pure and I could relate to it so well, the acting was stellar.
  • In short, very weak movie. predictable from 1 minute. Also out there are almost identical movies so if you are movie lover like me, then you will be disappointed to say at least. Maby 20 years ago this movie could get 5/10 but in year 2018 this is most drilled topic and really nothing unique. And at the end of the movie I just did a face palm.
  • natcalgary3 January 2019
    Had so much potential but fell short.

    The black and White was not appealing regardless of what they were trying to do.

    It is a sad story, that did't real pull at the heartstrings the way it could have

    4.3
  • They say that making a film in black and white film a for the cool and the best, the makers of 1985 has shown that their not competent to work with this kinda film art. the actors are so eye shadowed even blacked out so they appear like aliens or eyeless ghosts.just terrible to watch and damage the whole satisfaction of movie watching.. the thin red (or b/w) line are homosexuality,hivand aids in the 1980's. not a very good told story,other than the fright, horror grief and sorrow in the lives of the people portrayed in this film. i guess people with any connection to the aids hiv problem will love this film,it gives that much sense,but it was a bore and not good enough .
  • Crash with the end of the world, but using the opposite expression, calm surface but inside is surging, delicate and restrained depression does not like the reality of conservative families in the western United States, but similar to Asian families.