Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Bliss interrupted

Grass not greener in New England

One-note characters undermine The Green's portrayal of Michael Gavin (Jason Butler Harner) and partner Daniel's (Cheyenne Jackson) less-than-idyllic search for Connecticut calm.

Michael Gavin (Jason Butler Harner) has convinced his partner Daniel (Cheyenne Jackson) to leave New York and relocate to small-town Connecticut. Michael longs to be somewhere they can “see the green.”

They’re restoring an old house, Daniel’s catering company is prospering, and Michael is teaching English and drama at a private high school. It’s post-equal-marriage New England bliss.

That is, until Michael is accused of inappropriate behaviour with Jason, his student and the drama club lighting geek. Michael insists Jason’s testimony will clear up the whole misunderstanding. But Jason has bolted, leaving his recovering alcoholic mom and her mercenary boyfriend to lead the witch-hunt.

And in case you weren’t clear about the witch-hunt as metaphor, Mr Gavin is not only teaching The Crucible to his English class, he’s also directing it for the drama club. Get it?

I wanted to like The Green more than I did. But the ham-fisted script and lacklustre direction mire everyone and everything in a puddle of platitudes.

The characters play single notes. Jason is Sullen Teenager. His mom is Recovering Victim. Her boyfriend is Greasy Bastard. And Michael Gavin is Naive Target — so much so, you might be tempted to call him green.

Only Daniel (Handsome Boyfriend Who Cooks) and Julia Ormond (Lipstick Lesbian Lawyer) manage to buoy their characters with enough authenticity to keep their heads above water.

I valiantly tried to sail through all of this. I like films about gay drama/English teachers battling the pettiness of small-town small minds. I used to be one, for goodness’ sake! But by the end of the film — and if you’re unclear it’s the end, there’s stock footage of dry leaves blowing and autumnal geese taking wing to clarify — I was sunk.