An emotional family drama with takeaways for everyone, straight or gay
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.