TIGLFF Movie Review: Keep the Lights On

An intimate, at times exasperating look at a troubled relationship.

Arriving with some of the biggest advance buzz ever for a TIGLFF film (New York Times rave, Entertainment Weekly Must List), this critically acclaimed film is equal parts affecting and annoying.

Aficionados of publishing-world gossip may already be familiar with the back story; writer-director Ira Sachs based his script on his relationship with hot young literary agent Bill Clegg, whose best-selling memoir, Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, described his horrific descent into crack and sex addiction. Sachs’ film tells the story from the partner’s — or more to the point, the enabler’s — perspective. While the script avoids blaming either man, the willful victimhood of the central character, Erik, gets old (leave him already and stop moping!), and as Paul (the Clegg surrogate), Zachary Booth (Damages) remains movie-pretty, betraying little evidence of the physical or even mental ravages of addiction.

There are some powerful moments, as when Erik helplessly watches Paul have sex with a hustler, and the supporting cast and NYC milieu are spot on, but finally the film feels like an act of self-indulgent payback.

Sun. Oct. 7, 7 p.m., Tampa Theatre. tiglff.com

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