Those People


Bay Area Premiere

Expected to attend: Director Joey Kuhn, Actors Britt Lower, Haaz Sleiman, Jonathan Gordon, Producer Kimberly Parker

Obsession, scandal, and shifting loyalties put pressure on a lifelong friendship and a new relationship in Joey Kuhn’s erotic, arresting directorial debut. Budding artist Charlie (Jonathan Gordon, God’s Pocket) is so hung up on handsome, vain BFF Sebastian (Jason Ralph, A Most Violent Year) that when asked to paint a self-portrait, he can only deliver yet another painting of his friend. In the wake of a scandal that envelops Sebastian after his Bernie Madoff-like father goes to jail, Charlie moves into Sebastian’s luxurious Manhattan apartment, the perfect setup for getting closer to the object of his affection. But Sebastian is like a mirage, always just out of reach; so when Charlie meets Tim (Haaz Sleiman, The Visitor, Nurse Jackie)—a Lebanese concert pianist, older settled in contrast to Sebastian’s chaos—Charlie is intrigued as well as attracted. Sebastian’s ensuing jealousy presents Charlie with a life-altering question: Should he maintain the status quo in the hopes that his feelings will someday be reciprocated, or should he pursue something real with his hot new man? ?It’s evident in the names Charlie and Sebastian, borrowed from Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, that Kuhn is exploring more than romantic drama. Those People closely observes the social milieu in which the story is set, Charlie and Sebastian’s tight group of friends, and the changing nature of a friendship once a third party appears on the scene. Its privileged characters evoke Whit Stillman’s films (and in Sebastian’s familial predicament, Bonfire of the Vanities), but Kuhn is a more tactile, visceral director. Those People’s great strengths are in its committed performances, the sultry chemistry between the three leads, and the passion at the heart of a decidedly uneven romantic triangle.

— Pam Grady

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F136

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