Movie: The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy
Release Date: October 20, 2000
Director: Greg Berlanti
Starring: Zach Braff, Dean Cain, Andrew Keegan, Nia Long, Mary McCormack, Matt McGrath, Timothy Olyphant, Billy Porter, Justin Theroux, Ben Weber, John Mahoney.
Tag Lines: “The shortest distance between friends isn’t always a straight line.”
Relevance: As referenced a few times on this blog, I had a late “coming out” at the very old age (in gay world) of twenty-seven in June of 1998. It was an extremely difficult time for me. Like I often say, some gays burst through that closet door. I was more or less dragged out.
By the time the new millennium started though I was on my way to becoming a happier individual with who I was and the life that I led. However when it came to “gay world,” I had trouble fitting in with any of the sub cultures we seemed to have in our community. Twinks, bears, daddies, oh my. I was just me and although I adapted to every type and situation, I only wanted to be me. I didn’t want to be attached to any specific label. As a gay man in a straight world, I was already labeled. And that was more than enough.
Sometime in 2001, I came across ‘The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy’ in Hollywood Video on one of my rare days off from work. I could spend hours in a rental store looking and reading about all of the movies I wanted (and needed) to see. After reading about ‘The Broken Hearts Club’ and recognizing a few of the actors in it, I thought I would check it out. I am very glad that I did.
The film was so refreshing to me. The characters were homosexual, yes, but were portrayed as normal, average men who just happened to be gay. It focused on themes of romance, acceptance and family, as opposed to AIDS, coming out, and sex, which were more controversial and stereotypical topics commonly covered in LGBTQ films prior to that time. They were just men trying to get through life like everybody else. Like me. More importantly it was well directed, well acted and very, very funny.
‘The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy’ was a movie that I snatched up on VHS for my movie collection as soon as possible. I would periodically watch the film when I didn’t have the energy to hang with my friends at the gay bars and dance clubs. It was a nice, cheaper way to fit in with my new community. I eventually purchased the DVD and have watched it numerous times throughout the years. Not only am I entertained every time, I am reminded of who I was then and that I survived and became the proud gay man that I am today.
Today’s Thoughts: “There is not a single film in the cinematic canon that paints the portrait of a gay man that any of us would aspire to be. What are our options… noble, suffering AIDS victims, the friends of noble suffering AIDS victims, compulsive sex addicts, common street hustlers and the most recent addition to the lot, stylish confidantes to lovelorn women. Just once I would like to see someone who is not sick, hasn’t been laid in about three months and is behind on his student loans.”
This quote sums up beautifully why I loved “The Broken Hearts Club” so much twenty years ago and why I still love it today. I watched it alone and thought a lot about being gay, coming out, how far we have come as a community and how much further we still need to go.
The movie is beautifully written and directed by Greg Berlanti and is supported by a very charming, although ironically mostly straight, cast. Zach Braff, Andrew Keegan, Nia Long, Mary McCormack, Matt McGrath, Timothy Olyphant, Billy Porter, Justin Theroux, Ben Weber and John Mahoney all succeed marvelously in this funny and touching tale. There really isn’t a weak link on the screen. It is fun to watch this a very young Zach Braff and Justin Theroux. Babies! I also don’t think Timothy Olyphant and Billy Porter have aged one bit. Let me have some of those gene.
‘The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy’ is a lovely, first rate LGBTQ comedy that somehow gets overlooked. It shouldn’t. It is a hidden gem and one that I highly recommend whether you are straight or gay.
Ways to Watch: Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, DVD Availability.