Parting Glances was one of the first American films on the topic of HIV/AIDS, and follows the story of a gay couple, Robert (John Bolger) and Michael (Richard Ganoung), on the eve of Robert’s departure for a two-year work assignment in Africa. Michael, however, plans to stay on in New York, while his ex-boyfriend Nick (Steve Buscemi), who cooks for Michael, will look after him. It’s clear that Michael and Robert already have a rather strained relationship, and that this work transfer is only going to make things harder on them in the long run.
The events of the film play out in a 24-hour window, with a focus especially on Robert’s farewell party. At first, they attend a farewell dinner with Robert’s boss and his wife, who have an unconventional marriage, and then onwards to a full fiesta thrown by their mutual friend Joan (Kathy Kinney). At this party, each of the characters are left to their own devices to interact with the various people they come across. Meanwhile, HIV-positive Nick moves the sound of his own beat, polarizing and uniting at the same time.
“Sherwood brings a notable grace and droll humour to his story of two male lovers parting against the backdrop of a friend dying of the Big A.”
— TimeOut London
“Relentlessly upbeat and upscale”
— Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Did You Know?
Parting Glances was Steve Buscemi’s first major role, cementing him in the Hollywood landscape for decades to come. The director, Bill Sherwood, died only a few years after the film’s release of complications due to AIDS, without having ever released another film. The film lives on today as a major work in the oeuvre of gay cinema. Review our Gay Themed Films Here