David Leavitt's novels are usually set in the highbrow milieu of the well-heeled American East Coast, where gay life is used as a launching pad for acute observations of one particular brand of Americana. This finds Catalan director Ventura Pons flirting with that universe. Adapted from Leavitt's The Page Turner, it attempts to expand on the standard gay subject of coming out. Eighteen-year-old Californian music student Paul (Bishop) dreams of becoming a concert pianist and falls in love with celebrity British pianist Richard Kennington (Rhys), with whom he has a fleeting romance after a chance encounter in Barcelona. Six months later, a more aggressive Paul is playing around with well-connected older men in New York, but is increasingly plagued by self-doubt while nursing a broken heart. Cleverly structured, the film is never as predictable as you might think it will be, but strong moments - like Paul's mother (Stevenson) trying to seduce a man who's just shagged her son - go amiss due to the limp direction; if only a director of, say, Louis Malle's calibre had got his hands on this material, maybe this adaptation would have resulted in something more substantial and on a par with the book. A shame, because it could have been made into a fizzy, beautiful drama; instead it has been turned into a flat, visually dull Chopin fest.
Food of Love
Cast and crew