There’s nothing wrong with sugar daddies, but there’s gotta come a cut-off in age difference.
Young and sexually confused Lake (Pier-Gabriel Lajoie) may have a girlfriend, Desiree (Katie Boland), but doesn’t feel totally comfortable. Which isn’t to say because he’s gay (which he sort of is), but because he appreciates his lovers to be a little more older and wiser. That’s why when he takes up a job at a nursing home, he’s actually pretty happy. However, he practically becomes smitten when he meets Mr. Peabody (Walter Borden); a patient who may be getting older, but still provides plenty of fun and happiness for Lake. Peabody, while initially against trying any sort of thing with Lake, initially grows fond of the young boy and starts to embrace the fact that he’s an older man, who is able to take up with a much, much younger fella. Although having any sort of sexual relations with a patient is strictly prohibited, Lake still goes for it with Mr. Peabody anyway – even going so far as to take him out on a road trip that has them spending all sorts of time together, making love and finding out more and more about one another, even despite the huge age-gap.
Sure, many people can be freaked out by this premise and see as how it’s just nothing more than a 70-year-old hooking up with someone who can’t be anymore than 21. But change the older person’s gender from male, to female, and you’ve got the same exact premise to Harold and Maude, which provides a pretty interesting flip side to the conversation. While some may be very upset and disturbed over the fact that these two men are having sex with one another and starting something of a relationship, the fact is why people may be upset is over the fact that these are in fact two men. To me, that doesn’t bother me one bit, but anything that I’ve seen so far about this movie has been nothing more than just “creepy”.
However, another difference between Gerontophilia and the aforementioned Harold and Maude, is that one is clearly way better and will forever be remembered as something of a cult classic, whereas the other, won’t at all be remembered in ten years, let alone, by the end of the summer.
But like I said, there’s something brave about what writer/director Bruce La Bruce sets out to do here; the only problem is that it seems to fall flat. While with a plot such as this, you may expect all sorts of shocks to be had, but instead, may also find out that there’s something very plain about this material. Not saying that a premise like this had to be constantly shocking and surprising its audience with whatever act of physicality it can show, but there is something to be said for a movie where it’s premise is as “different” as this, and yet, nothing really happens.
Sure, clothes are taken off, lips lock, and people have sex, but there’s nothing else more to that portion of the movie. While we’re supposed to believe that this Lake kid has a fetish for much older men, the reason being never comes out; not saying that there needs to be an explanation for each and every person’s sexual desires, but when a bulk of your film is dedicated to said sexual desire, it sort of feels like a question-mark left unanswered. With Lake though, the fact that we’re never able to pin-point the fact as to why he has such a love and needing desire for older men, is the least of this character’s problems.
For starters, Pier-Gabriel Lajoie is not a very good actor and because of this, he drags everyone else down around him. While I’m taking it slightly easy on him because he is young, seemingly inexperienced, and forced to speak English (a language that is clearly not his first) throughout a good majority of the film, there’s still a problem had here with him where he doesn’t really feel believable in this role. Sure, the idea that this young, handsome and boy-ish guy could be the object of some older man’s affections, definitely makes perfect sense, but that’s all this Lake character becomes. Maybe there was something more written for this character to portray and delve into, but whatever it was Lajoie never fully gets to that part.
He’s just a young and naive kid, like we all once were.
Which is fine, but once again, everybody else sort of stumbles in this film because of him. As Mr. Peabody, Walter Borden is alright here because his character seems fully-written and not just an idea, but after awhile, all there really seems to be for him to do is just act all surprised by how taken Lake is with him. Though the movie tries to fall back on it, there’s really no chemistry at all between these two, which is a shame when you take into consideration the fact that the movie wants to be all about stepping out of one’s boundaries and experiencing some sort of love that you don’t need to be told to have.
In fact, if there was something about this movie that was at least somewhat well-done, it was that it didn’t hide away, or better yet, shame its characters into thinking or feeling like they’re apart of something despicable and dirty. Simply put, they’re two men trying to experiencing some sort of love and/or connection that they can have with another person, while still not having to go through the whole thing, either. Also, too, the fact that they’re using one another makes me think that Bruce La Bruce had every intention of going deeper with these characters and the world in which they’re set in, however, it never comes out.
The only character who I can say is fully-realized and as complex as you’re going to get, is Katie Boland’s Desiree. While it’s never made clear what she is to Lake (sometimes, they hook-up even when he is with Mr. Peabody), there’s still something compelling about what her feminism beliefs represent and how, at the end of the day, she wants what either you or I want: Love. While she puts on a tough front of how she doesn’t care about all of that sappy bullshit and just wants to stand up for herself, she also wants to appreciate life and love with someone by her side. She also has this “list” that I’m still trying to figure out actually was, but even the fact that it was left open in the air, didn’t bother me. I was just happy to see a good actress, get a good role.
Wish that could be said for the rest of the movie.
Consensus: With awkward acting and ideas that never seem fully-realized enough to hit home, Gerontophilia, while never seeming fully creepy, still doesn’t go deeper than what’s presented on the surface with these characters, or their relationships together.
3 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire