Review: The Boys in the Band (15)

Leo Dawson reviews the hit Broadway play hitting the silver screen

Leo Dawson
26th October 2020
THE BOYS IN THE BAND (2020) Tuc Watkins as Hank, Andrew Rannells as Larry, Matt Bomer as Donald, Jim Parsons as Michael, Zachary Quinto as Harold, Robin de Jesœs as Emory, Brian Hutchison as Alan, Michael Benjamin Washington as Bernard and Charlie Carver as Cowboy. Cr. Scott Everett White/NETFLIX ©2020THE BOYS IN THE BAND

The entire cast of the ground-breaking Broadway revival are back, with a stacked soundtrack of 60s hits and surprisingly subtle Ryan Murphy-isms compared to his most recent projects.

In his latest Netflix offering, Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Pose) directs the returning ‘Boys’ from the 2018 Broadway revival of Mart Crowley’s historic play. While The Boys in the Band feels very much like a play due to insanely poetic dialogue and non-stop character interaction, it makes for a well-paced message of self-acceptance and a heartfelt look at 20th Century gay life.

The stacked cast is the film's greatest strength, all established stars of stage and screen and all gay themselves

Jim Parsons (Hollywood, The Big Bang Theory) turns in an amazing performance as the erratic and self-loathing Michael, who has thrown a birthday party for his best friend Harold, played by the equally brilliant Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Heroes). 

Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer & Andrew Rannells

Rounding out the cast with Matt Bomer (Doom Patrol), Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon) and more, the casual insults thrown between each friend and their slice-of-life party talk is both hilarious and heart-warming to watch. However, the party is interrupted by Michael’s estranged, straight college roommate (The Sinner’s Brian Hutchinson) and the party takes a very dark turn.

Ryan Murphy’s production and Joe Mantello’s (Hollywood) direction is as slick as ever, showcasing each character with just as much thought as the next, which is a notable departure from Murphy’s previous work. I would say this is his most attentive and effective juggling of an ensemble cast since his work on American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson and I expect the film to sweep at the next awards season, after must-see performances from Parsons and Quinto.

4/5.

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