Australian writer and gay activist Timothy Conigrave finished his 1995 memoir ‘Holding the Man’ shortly before dying of an Aids-related illness. A decade later his book, which focuses on Conigrave’s relationship with the love of his life, became one of the country’s most successful plays ever. Now it’s been adapted into a top-class tearjerker.
Conigrave (Ryan Corr) is a student at a Jesuit school in Melbourne in 1976 when he falls for the captain of the Aussie rules football team, John Caleo (Craig Stott). Time jumps take us through the years: their university days and gay activism; Conigrave’s time at drama school; the Sydney gay scene; and the awful toll of Aids in the ’80s and ’90s.
The performances are all splendid. Guy Pearce and Kerry Fox are terrific as Conigrave’s tolerant parents, while Corr (‘Wolf Creek 2’) and Stott are touching as the couple whose bond remains steady to the end. Here’s a true story, honestly told and genuinely moving.