A sort of gay “Brief Encounter,” Andrew Haigh’s film is about a chance meeting between Russell (Tom Cullen), a lifeguard at a community pool in Nottingham, and Glen (Chris New), who works in an art gallery. They’re very different people, Russell a more cautious, easygoing type and Glen talkative and abrasive. But the two hit it off after bumping into one another in a bar and spend the night together in Russell’s flat. The night extends into the weekend, during which they chatter on about their lives between bouts of lovemaking. Though the men are drawn as very different personalities, after a time it appears that their relationship could become a lasting one.
The movie is shot and edited to seem improvisational, but in terms of content it’s actually quite theatrical, with acting that’s meant to be naturalistic but comes across as calculated and a script that trades in melodramatic moments, played at high pitch. The level of manipulation reaches a fever pitch in the last act, when Glen announces that he’s departing for a job in the States.
“Weekend” obviously intended as an insightful study of the sort of short-term relationship that’s long been a staple of straight romance. But while you might appreciate its goal, the writing and execution aren’t strong enough to reach it.