Although the romantic drama “Bwoy” might not present the kind of healthy, evolved portrayal of gay men some might prefer, the film, from writer-director John G. Young, remains a profoundly sensitive look at love, loss and loneliness.
Anthony Rapp (“Rent”) plays the 40ish Brad, a Schenectady, N.Y., call-center drone who begins an online romance with a hot 23-year-old Jamaican, Yenny (Jimmy Brooks). Despite Brad’s reticence, he and the ebullient Yenny fall into the fetishy dynamic of “daddy” and “son” that unfolds in an intimate, increasingly steamy series of texts and video chats.
But the closer they get, the more Brad — and we — begin to question Yenny’s intentions, especially as the financially strapped Brad starts funneling small amounts of money to him.
Meanwhile, it’s slowly revealed that Brad is married to the infinitely patient Marcia (De’Adre Aziza) and that their young son died in an unfortunate accident. A deeper dive into this troubled marriage, Brad’s repressed sexuality and his former career as a doctor might have better fleshed out the sometimes overly elliptical narrative.
“Bwoy” (Jamaican patois for boy), which largely plays like a stage-appropriate two-hander, is ultimately a surprising and cathartic, if often unsettling, film anchored by Rapp’s superb portrayal of a tortured soul desperate to connect. Brooks’ deftly enticing turn is also a standout.
Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills