×

Venice Film Review: ‘Gerontophilia’

This cross-generational romance sports a great title and a funny opening before going all limp.

With:
Pier-Gabriel Lajoie, Walter Borden, Katie Boland, Marie-Helene Thibault, Yardly Kavanagh, Jean-Alexander Letourneau, Brian D. Wright. (English, French-Canadian dialogue)

Better camerawork and a lower gross-out factor than usual seem to have taken the oomph out of bad boy Bruce LaBruce, whose “Gerontophilia” sports a great title and a funny opening before going all limp. Generally the crown prince of taboos, LaBruce is only mildly outre in this story of a young man unexpectedly discovering he’s got a thing for granddaddies. Maybe if the actors had been coached to actually act, it would have come across better, but their painfully stilted delivery is leaden rather than campily artificial. The usual queer showcases will line up.

SEE ALSO: Film Review: Bruce LaBruce’s “L.A. Zombie”

The producers probably expected more considering LaBruce had a bigger budget than he’s used to (reportedly $2 million), and for the first time his content barely merits an R rating (if that).  Yet “Gerontophilia” isn’t likely to find a crossover audience, notwithstanding an uncharacteristic sweetness, as if he wanted to channel the kind of warmhearted gay vibes of a John Waters. The one semi-nauseating shot, with the teen licking an open bedsore, might discomfort the average indie crowd but won’t be enough to excite LaBruce’s hardcore fans.

Just out of high school, Lake (Pier-Gabriel Lajoie) has a g.f., Desiree (Katie Boland), who goes wild for women revolutionaries of the past (the opener, when she practically climaxes shouting out the names of questionable rebels like Lizzie Borden, Patty Hearst and Aileen Wuornos, gets the biggest LOL moment). He works as a lifeguard until he becomes aroused giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to an elderly man and decides he wants to be around old guys more often, so he takes a job as an orderly at a nursing home.

There he meets 81-year-old Melvyn Peabody (Walter Borden). Realizing Melvyn is being overmedicated, Lake conspires to hide his pills and suddenly the confused geezer becomes a charmer. The two start sleeping together, but when admin catches on, they dope Melvyn up again, forcing Lake to bundle him out of the home. In “Harold and Maude” style they embark on a road trip, during which Lake is forced to confront his green-eyed monster of jealousy.

Perhaps age is tempering some of LaBruce’s excesses, and while there’s something undeniably transgressive about a cross-generational romance of this span, it’s played for cuteness rather than to shake up bourgeois sensibilities. Smooth-flowing dialogue was never LaBruce’s forte (his last film, “L.A. Zombie,” was largely silent), but here the conversations are more wooden than the low-budget 1970s pics the helmer claims as stylistic inspiration. Newcomer Lajoie has a sweet smile yet doesn’t know what to do with his lines; he’s hardly alone.

Lensing is more professional than one usually sees in the director’s work, though slo-mo is overused. Always profligate with his music, LaBruce here relies too much on aural stimulus to maintain interest.

Venice Film Review: 'Gerontophilia'

Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Venice Days), Aug. 28, 2013. (Also in Toronto Film Festival — Vanguard.) Running time: 82 MIN.

Production:

(Canada) A Filmoption Intl. presentation of a 1976 Prods., New Real Films production, with the participation of Telefilm Canada. (International sales: MK2, Paris.) Produced by Nicolas Comeau, Leonard Farlinger, Jennifer Jonas.

Crew:

Directed by Bruce LaBruce. Screenplay, LaBruce, Daniel Allen Cox. Camera (color, HD, widescreen), Nicolas Canniccioni; editor, Glenn Berman; music, Ramachandra Borcar; production designer, Olivier Laberge; costume designer, Marilyne Garceau; sound, Tod van Dyk, Bruno Pucella, Isabelle Lussier; assistant director, Sinan Saber; casting, Guillaume Lambert, Paul Weber, John Buchan, Jason Knight.

With:

Pier-Gabriel Lajoie, Walter Borden, Katie Boland, Marie-Helene Thibault, Yardly Kavanagh, Jean-Alexander Letourneau, Brian D. Wright. (English, French-Canadian dialogue)

More Film

  • it chapter two, comic con

    Comic-Con: 4500 Gallons of Fake Blood and Everything Else to Know About 'It Chapter Two''

    Comic-Con 2019 kicked off with a stacked presentation from the director and cast of “It Chapter Two” on Wednesday, inspiring a curious amount of joy at San Diego’s Spreckles Theater in spite of the abject terror offered up by the film. The closing chapter to 2017’s record-obliterating “It,” the highest grossing R-rated horror film of [...]

  • 'Between Me and My Mind' Review:

    Film Review: Trey Anastasio in 'Between Me and My Mind'

    Trey Anastasio doesn’t look like a rock star. With his thick rimless glasses and flop of sandy red hair, you might say he resembles John Sebastian, but really, he looks like a mashup of Mike White and Jon Cryer and the filmmaker Chris Smith. He’s an appealingly ordinary shaggy-geek dude, like some guy you might [...]

  • Photo taken July 18, 2019, from

    More Than 20 Feared Dead in Arson Attack on Japan's Kyoto Animation

    UPDATED: More than 20 people are feared to have died Thursday morning in an arson attack on the Kyoto Animation company in Japan, shocking a nation in which extreme violence is very rare. Emergency services in Kyoto City received a call about 10:35 a.m. local time reporting an explosion on the first floor of the [...]

  • sith trooper

    Sith Trooper Revealed From 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

    “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” revealed a new storm trooper uniform Wednesday at San Diego Comic Con as part of a special exhibit celebrating the evolution of the storm trooper design. Dubbed the Sith trooper, the new uniform sports all-red armor plates with a matching red and black blaster. Also decorating the armor is [...]

  • Dunkirk

    Harry Styles Is the Perfect Prince Eric; Why He'd Rock 'Little Mermaid' Role

    Could Harry Styles be the perfect Prince Eric? One day after the announcement that the One Direction star is “in early negotiations to play the iconic ‘Little Mermaid’ role,” the internet exploded with speculation as to how he would portray the object of Ariel’s affections. “I can see lots of reasons why Harry is perfect,” [...]

  • The Lion King

    Film News Roundup: PETA Sponsors Rescued Lion in Jon Favreau's Name

    In today’s film news roundup, PETA honors Jon Favreau for “The Lion King,” “Tigers Are Not Afraid” gets a theatrical release, a Kirk Franklin biopic is in development and “The Sixth Sense” gets an anniversary showing in Philadelphia. HONOR The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is sponsoring a rescued lion to honor director [...]

  • Tokyo Director-in-Focus-at-Japan-Now

    Nobuhiko Obayashi set as Japanese Director in Focus at Tokyo Film Festival

    Indie director, Nobuhiko Obayashi will be feted as the director in focus at the Japan Now section of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival. The festival will give a world premiere to his “Labyrinth of Cinema.” Supporting his art by shooting commercials, Obayashi is an indie whose dreamy works have influenced numerous other directors in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content