a film by Aisling Walsh
1999 | 100 mins | UK
›› Forgive & Forget
the negative side of the coming out process laid bare
Forgive & Forget by Aisling Walsh This is the story of David O'Neil, a lad-about-town who's happy in the knowledge that his close friendship with his best friend Theo, is enough to sustain him through life. Only the life that David enjoys is not entirely fixated on the Oprah styled confessional chat show FORGIVE & FORGET, given this macho male equally lusts after sexual intimacy of the man-on-man kind. Employed in the construction industry however, he opts to conceal his gay credentials for the benefit of social integration, let alone family harmony, given his father is his boss. That is until the arrival of Hannah, the new girl in Theo's life, who soon takes over from David as the one that Theo relies on. Becoming increasingly desperate to end their relationship and reclaim his man, the stage is set for a showdown - whatever the consequences be.

Produced by Scottish Television with an array of British talent, this hard-hitting relationship drama explores the issue of what it is like for a working class lad to finally say NO to living a closeted life. Only in this case and unlike many a work on the perennial favourite of to thy own self - being true, this feature from the pen of Mark Burt depicts the negative side of the coming out process. That the result is not a pleasant sight goes without saying, even if it's one that's sadly but the bitter reality for some.

That said and as expected John Simm shines in the role of Theo, giving a masterful performance as a man who could accept his best friend being gay, perhaps even being in love with him, but not one who tried to ruin his own chances of relationship bliss. To that end, Steve John Shepherd as David and Laura Fraser as the girl who comes between them are splendid in their parts, given this is but a gay styled variation on the classic love triangle scenario.

Well-shot throughout and complete with the fine support work of Maurice Roëves as the intolerant father of the piece and Ger Ryan as a mother emotionally caught in the middle of warring fractions, this is a film whose shocking and downright violent conclusion, beckons the question of whether it's better to let risk it all to be open with your sexuality, rather than live a lie? That in spite of it all, David concludes that it has been the best day of his life, provides a cinematic answer to the question; albeit one with a brutal reminder of the harsh realities for some in finally letting their rainbow heart run free.
an ITV1 drama premiere: Bank Holiday Monday.3.January.2000.
starring: John Simm, Steve John Shepherd, Laura Fraser, Maurice Roëves, Ger Ryan and Meera Syal.
Copyright 2009 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #027
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