by Jeff Walsh
In "Times Have Been Better," Jeremy is a 33-year-old, successful banker who is moving into a new loft with his boyfriend. To mark the occasion, he decides to finally tell his parents that he's gay.
Unlike most movies where the gay character and his journey would be the main focus of the movie, Times Have Been Better shows how Jeremy's revelation rattles the very foundation upon which the family relationships have been built. Once the family members get a taste of honesty, they start questioning their own lives and the relationships they maintain out of convenience.
His mother and father almost stop talking to one another. His mother befriends her bitter queen of a co-worker and rejects the friendships she's maintained for years. His father cringes at every question about his son's sexuality, and at the homophobic comments his friends make that never bothered him before. And his brother finally gets undesired attention now that the successful, older brother in whom the family had rested their hopes isn't seen as impervious anymore.
Times Have Been Better is a delightful French movie that shows the danger of complacency and familiarity in relationships and how, left unattended, they can seem perfect until examined.
Jeremy's father has the most difficult time: feeling that the son he knows has died; hoping his son's new boyfriend is somewhat effeminate so he knows his son is the top, but not so effeminate as to be otherwise embarrassing; and lacking any ability to open up to his wife about his feelings.
Jeremy's mother feels like a hole in her life is filled now that her son has found love, but all of the years in between are just lost to her and she wants to know why she wasn't allowed into that aspect of her son's life.
The movie asks difficult questions, raises interesting discussions, and ponders the strength of familial relationships. But, despite all of the weightiness of the subject matter, it is still a delightful movie to watch. Plus, how often does a happy gay man living with someone he loves and sharing that news with the world get to cause so much turmoil in other people's lives?