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May 14, 2017

In Bloom

by Franz Patrick


In Bloom (2013)
★ / ★★★★

“In Bloom,” written and directed by Chris Michael Birkmeier, is yet another LGBTQ picture that just had to end in a tragedy in order to win the sympathy of the audience. It is a cheap shot and it should not be tolerated. And on top of a miscalculation of an ending, the screenplay is devoid of any intrigue, interest, or sexual chemistry among the main players. Overall, the film fails to leave a mark in the gay and lesbian-themed movie landscape.

Kurt (Kyle Wigent), a pot dealer, and Paul (Tanner Rittenhouse), a clerk in a grocery store, are living together and in a long-term relationship. They enjoy each other’s company and have deep feelings for one another, but lately there are small hints that maybe what they share is beginning to feel a little stale. When Kurt meets Kevin (Adam Fane), he is tempted to explore outside of being in a committed relationship.

The dialogue is dead dull, from the scenes that take place in a house party to the one-on-one conversations between Paul and Kurt. There is a sameness in the way just about everyone speaks and so we never really buy into the characters. Instead, we recognize lines that must be recited because the paper demands they be said. Thus, there is no emotional or psychological heft that accumulates. The material fails to genuinely engage.

This is a problem because there are a few scenes during the former half that show the couple simply being together. We get the impression that they are young but never do we believe that there is a maturity to them, an important ingredient that is likely to convince us that the relationship might in fact have a future. Not once did I feel compelled to root for them to get together in the end. However, the material gives the impression that we should without it giving us excellent reasons to consider the alternative.

There is one character that is potentially interesting. Jake Andrews plays Eddie, Paul’s co-worker who just might hold feelings toward him. While the performer does not break any new ground in terms of how to make the character fascinating, Andrews does inject a certain level of shyness in Eddie that makes us want to pay attention. One wonders how sweet the film could have been if the writer-director explored how Paul sees Eddie and vice-versa. Paul is not at all attracted to Eddie.

Another problem involves the framing of temptation. Other than the fact that Paul finds himself to be physically attracted to Kevin, there is no other information provided that makes us want to know them more, together as well as separate people. Paul is simply drawn as the cute drug dealer and Kevin is the agent, mostly of unknown motivations, that catalyzes the schism between the couple.

I’m tired of watching LGBTQ movies of such poor qualities. There are a lot of stories out there worth telling—stories that reflect real life and real struggles. Here, although what is happening is supposed to feel realistic, just about every event lacks a level of practicality at such an extent that the film as a whole eventually loses power. Ask yourself this: If you really cared about someone who happens to be dealing drugs for a living, wouldn’t you have a serious conversation with them about possibly getting into another line of work? Here, such a discourse is pushed under the rug.

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