By Jeff Walsh
In "Suffering Man's Charity," Alan Cumming delivers a tour-de-force as both actor and director in this dark comic romp.
Cumming plays John Vandermark, a music teacher who dreams of writing an opera, although his greatest talent seems to be in supporting artistic younger men. His latest conquest/charity case is Sebastian St. Germain (played by David Boreanaz), whose novel seems as non-existent as his celibacy, although the latter is only reserved for his host.
When Vandermark discovers that Germain is sleeping around with women around town, they have a very spirited knock-down-drag-out bitchfest about it, to put it lightly.
The movie is not for the faint of heart, or for those who want a sympathetic lead character, or for those who like things to be tied up with a nice bow at the end. It is a very over-the-top movie in both its comedy, construct, and content.
In the question and answer period after the film's screening at Frameline, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival last night, Cumming said it was possibly his only chance to play a Tennessee Williams heroine. He also acknowledged Sunset Boulevard, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and All About Eve as his film's forebears.
The movie also has an amazing supporting cast featuring Henry Thomas, Karen Black, Anne Heche, Jane Lynch, and Carrie Fisher.
Wildly unpredictable, devilishly fiendish, and unquestionable enjoyable, for the people who like their movies dark and their protagonists darker, Suffering Man's Charity is definitely worth your time.
The movie is currently playing festivals, and hopefully being released later this year. For information on screenings, visit http://www.sufferngmasnscharity.com/.