Review: ‘Beautiful Something’ is lost in time, leaves you looking for more

Colman Domingo, left, and Zack Ryan in the movie "Beautiful Something."
(Ariztical Entertainment)

Bits and pieces of the gay-themed drama “Beautiful Something” feel real and essential. But this slow-going film often suffers from a forced, navel-gazing quality that can prove exasperating. Writer-director Joseph Graham’s at times porn-clunky dialogue (“Whoa, that was hot!”), stagy visuals and uneven acting don’t help.

Over the course of one Philadelphia night, tortured poet Brian (Brian Sheppard), renowned sculptor Drew (Colman Domingo), his antsy actor-boyfriend-muse, Jim (Zack Ryan) and older, alcoholic talent agent Bob (John Lescault) seek sex, comfort, clarity and artistic inspiration as their paths overlap. It’s not a particularly appealing or compelling bunch; a supporting character, Brian’s ex-lover, Dan (well-played by Grant Lancaster), is more intriguingly conceived.

Graham seems to be going for a retro/timeless vibe: Guys meet in bars, not on Grindr, Brian works on a typewriter, the love of Bob’s life died in the Vietnam War, and so on. Unfortunately, it turns the movie into a bit of a cultural mishmash. As for the film’s intense sex scenes, they’re more noisy than erotic.

Ultimately, this is territory that’s been covered in hipper, defter ways over the last few years in features such as “Weekend” and “Like You Mean It” and in HBO’s bar-raising series “Looking.”



‘Beautiful Something’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood