Love! Valour! Compassion! Is the story of a group of eight male gay friends who spend the summer holidays together at one of the men’s lakeside home, outside New York City. Gregory (Stephen Bogardus), a successful Broadway choreographer is the host and his seven friends include his partner Bobby (Justin Kirk), who is blind and much younger than Gregory; Art and Perry (John Benjamin Hickey and Stephen Spinella), who are a couple of yuppies celebrating their 14th anniversary; John (John Glover) a sullen British ex-pat, who hates his own twin brother; Ramon (Randy Becker) John’s partner, who fancies and attempts to seduce Bobby; James (John Glover), John’s cheerful twin brother who is in the advanced stages of AIDS and Buzz (Jason Alexander) a musicals fan who is also facing up to his own HIV positive status.
Each of the guests has some connection to Gregory’s work. Gregory is middle-aged and fears that he is losing his creativity. Although Ramon and James are not within the inner circle, their personalities mean that they are soon welcomed into the group.
The themes explored in the film include infidelity, soul searching and HIV and AIDS together with questions about life and death.
“The best thing the filmmakers did was to pull a cast out of the stage productions. Importantly, the actors convey a sense of history and comfort with each other.”
— Ron Wells, Film Threat
“It is so sharply written and entertaining that in its stage-to-screen transfer the material easily overcomes its theatrical sensibility and the static direction of Joe Mantello, who also staged the Broadway production.”
— Emanuel Levy, Variety
“Most of the cast (along with director Joe Mantello) have been recruited from the stage play, and they all do a fine job of trimming their performances for the screen.”
— Rick Groen, The Globe and Mail Toronto
Did You Know?
In this film adaptation of his own stage play of Love! Valour! Compassion!, McNally used the original cast with the exceptions of Anthony Heald and Nathan Lane who were replaced by Stephen Spinella and Jason Alexander. The film was produced by Doug Chapin. Review our Gay Themed Films Here