Openly gay Ira Sachs co-writes and directs a bittersweet love-to-hate-to-love story in Keep the Lights On. Based loosely on his own experiences, Sachs recounts a decade-long, but bound-to-fail, relationship between two gay men in New York City. Erik (Thure Lindhardt, in a sensational performance) is a documentary filmmaker longing for a real connection to another man, using phone sex as an outlet; that is, until he meets Paul (Zachary Booth), a closeted homosexual and drug addict. (Sidebar: I get that drug use runs rampant within the homosexual-male lifestyle, but the constant documentation of it in films as an ice-breaker to gay sex is becoming offensive.)
Other than my momentary rant about drugs being synonymous with gay sex, Keep the Lights On, is a low-key drama that seeps quietly into the many gray areas of gay relationships. At times, it’s unsettling, and at others, it’s sobering. Plus, the music of Arthur Russell helps propel the weathered nuances of the film.
Keep the Lights On opens Nov. 16, Tower Theatre, 876 E. 900 S.