Review: The Hours and Times
THE HOURS AND TIMES
We desire in others what we desire for ourselves: we crave shapely bodies because we want eternal health, we like aggressive lovers because we’d love to be so confident. So we long to rub up against others in hopes that these attributes will rub off on ourselves.
Though ostensibly a film about Brian Epstein’s sexual attraction to John Lennon, and John’s reciprocal interest in Brian’s lifestyle, this is really about what each man sees in the other and lacks in himself: Brian craves John’s boldness, talent, and youth; John is intrigued by Eppie’s sophistication, intelligence, and sensitivity. So rather than just being a film about thwarted gay sex, as I initially saw it, this film uses Brian’s longing as a way of comparing and contrasting the two men, then it holds up their two approaches to life as different ways to see the world. Which is pretty damn clever.
So this is a film of ideas, related and pondered by two tourists in a European capital and driven vaguely by lust, a la Before Sunrise/Sunset. A great and dead-accurate (imho) portrayal of Lennon and Epstein, as fascinating a pair of 20th century characters as you’re likely to encounter. Enough other characters (potential lovers for both John and Brian) enter into the free-flow that we get to hear what the two guys think about each other.
Well-cast, though I wish the guy playing Brian looked a little more like him with his sweet baby face. Lennon’s played by Ian Hart, who also played him years later in Backbeat. This would make a good double bill with that film, which leaves Lennon alone and misunderstood; it’s easy to see him turning to Epstein as a confidante after Sutcliffe’s passing.
I had recalled this film as deadly dull, but it actually moves along quite briskly, and its 55 minutes are up before you know it.
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