DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema
Director - Brian O'Donnell/ Sasha King - 2016

"Mostly clean movie"
An American story of bereavement and forgiveness, where homosexuality is the background but never the leitmotif - now available on BFI player

Set in present-day Akron, in the American state of Ohio, this film presents the romance between two university students Benny (Matthew Frias) and Christopher (Edmund Donovan). They meet in a sports field and swiftly become deeply infatuated with each other, and both of their families are very enthusiastic and supportive of their romance. It feels like the perfect romance between two charming, irresistible and loving young men, until a tragedy from the past resurfaces to haunt them.

Christopher’s mother had accidentally run over Benny’s brother with her car in a parking lot roughly 15 years earlier. Christopher was inside the car and Benny also witnessed the event, but they were both very young and their recollection is very vague. On the other hand, Benny’s mother struggles to forgive and forget the horrific day when she lost one of her sons.

Akron is a film about how difficult Americans find to accept death, to forgive and to move on with their private lives. Benny’s mother is a reasonable, kind and loving person, but she is just unable to cope with the fact that her son’s partner is somehow linked to the tragic accident. In the documentary Where to Invade Next (2015), Michael Moore noted while interviewing the father of a victim of Anders Behring Breivik (who conducted a mass shooting in Oslo in 2011) that Americans struggle to forget the past. The American director is bemused that the Norwegian man has come to terms with the death of his son and is not campaigning for death penalty or reparations. Benny’s mother is not seeking money or revenge; she is simply unable to mend her heart and let her son have a relationship with Christopher.

Akron is a film about pain and reconciliation.

A remarkable feature in Akron is that homosexuality is presented as entirely acceptable feature of American society. There is not a scintilla of homophobia or sexual intolerance, not even in passing. While refreshing, this at times comes across as contrived and unnatural. Not because homosexuality is unnatural, but instead because such level of acceptance is hardly credible. Akron is subversive in a reverse way: by presenting an alternative sexuality as a fully integrated and commoditised lifestyle.

While at times a little too melodramatic, the two directors Brian O’Donnell and Sasha King – who are also partners – created a beautiful film with overall good performances and an engaging script. It may feel futile and petit bourgeois to LGBT audiences in other countries facing much more serious problems (such as violence and even death) than a mother’s soul-searching, but Akron still delivers good moments and an examination of possibilities of reconciliation.

Akron was part of the 30th BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival in 2016, when this piece was originally written. The film has now been made available on BFI Player – just click here for more information.



"Mostly clean movie"

By Victor Fraga - 17-03-2016

By Victor Fraga - 17-03-2016

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than 15 years of involvement in...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Holidaying in Cambodia with Isaac (Ross McCall), Ben [Read More...]
Fifty years have passed since students joined forces [Read More...]

Read More

Official Secrets

Gavin Hood
2019

Patricia Cook - 15-09-2019

Dirty and Special Relationship: the UK and the US conspire in order to persuade UN Security Council members to support the Iraq War, in political thriller based on real events - in cinemas Friday October 18th (and also at the BFI London Film Festival) [Read More...]

American Woman

Jake Scott
2019

Jack Hawkins - 11-09-2019

Life must go on on for a young woman after her teen daughter goes missing, in this dirty kitchen sink drama starring Sienna Miller - in cinemas Friday, October 11th. [Read More...]

Our dirty questions to Karim Ainouz

 

Victor Fraga - 11-09-2019

Our editor met up with the director of The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, the astounding Brazilian melodrama that won the prestigious Un Certain Regard award in Cannes and could soon snatch an Oscar! [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *