1 min

Beautiful dénoument

From the opening frame of Leonard Farlinger’s The Perfect Son, we pretty much know where this film is going.

Ryan (Colm Feore) is seen calling the morgue to pick up the body of his recently departed father who he has responsibly nursed through a long illness to his death.

In only the third scene, Feore’s character reveals to his younger brother (David Cubitt), that he was “diagnosed as positive over 10 years ago. Which means I’m past my expiry date.”

In the heavily poignant family drama tone of Perfect Son, this can only mean one thing – Feore’s HIV-positive character is set to die. The fact that this predestined course for real life people with AIDS is no longer the assumed destiny, dates this film as a period piece even before it is unwrapped.

If The Perfect Son was released 10 years ago it would have fitted well into the AIDS victim films then emerging, like Philadelphia or Early Frost. In fact, it would have outshone most of them.

I don’t want to minimize the story Farlinger is telling. People die of AIDS, even today in the world of invasive drug treatments. People die and it is horrible. But do we really need another film at this point in the history of AIDS that maps the death of a person with AIDS as inevitable?

The entire course of events in The Perfect Son relate to the suffering and death of Feore’s character – and the consoling relationship that is built between him and his long lost, junkie, poet brother who turns up to care for him.

Despite its predictability, The Perfect Son it is a beautifully rendered drama. The acting is above top notch. It is a story stripped to its bare bones with really only two characters and one location – the house (although the single scene with Juan Chioran playing Ryan’s queeny best friend is a brief sigh of relief in the downward spiral). And in the end, there is a delightful moment of redemption in the brother.

The Perfect Son is unmistakably a well-crafted, passionately told film – unfortunately, a decade late.

The Perfect Son opens Fri, Feb 2 at the Varsity (55 Bloor St W); call (416) 961-6303.