Boulevard

Every year we lose an un­for­tu­nate bunch of Hol­ly­wood stars, whose faces and names even­tu­ally grace the Oscars’ “In Me­mori­am” seg­ment.

  • 197781151

  • 197781031

Every year we lose an un­for­tu­nate bunch of Hol­ly­wood stars, whose faces and names even­tu­ally grace the Oscars’ “In Me­mori­am” seg­ment. But the re­cent loss of Robin Wil­li­ams felt es­pe­cially dev­ast­at­ing, likely be­cause he was an act­or who ap­pealed to vir­tu­ally every demo­graph­ic. It’s a cruel, bit­ter­sweet irony that Wil­li­ams’s role in “Boulevard,” his fi­nal film, is that of a man whose life wasn’t cut short, but salvaged once he found the cour­age to live his truth.[if !sup­portEmp­ty­Paras] 

[en­dif]

Wil­li­ams plays No­lan, a nearly three dec­ade vet­er­an of the bank­ing in­dustry whose hum­drum life with wife Joy (Kathy Baker) is weigh­ing on his soul. Like a mel­an­chol­ic twist on the start of “Pretty Wo­man,” “Boulevard” kicks off with No­lan un­wit­tingly pick­ing up a hust­ler, Leo (Roberto Aguire), whom No­lan nearly hits with his car. Leo pro­poses sexu­al fa­vors im­me­di­ately, and No­lan is alarmed and in­trigued in equal meas­ure.

Though per­fectly po­si­tioned so as to give No­lan a phys­ic­al mid­life awaken­ing, “Boulevard” is a sex­less ex­plor­a­tion of sexu­al dis­cov­ery, wherein a long-closeted gay man is fi­nally giv­en the im­petus to con­front his true self. In­ter­est­ingly, the movie of­fers the im­plic­a­tion that, had No­lan nev­er met Leo (for whom he de­vel­ops a pa­ternal bond most of all), he may nev­er have come to terms with his un­spoken in­ner tur­moil. And yet, once fi­nally face to face with his nature, he can’t turn away from it.

True to form, Wil­li­ams is nat­ur­al and bril­liant in his em­bod­i­ment of No­lan’s mix of fear and fas­cin­a­tion, and he grounds a story that dares to cham­pi­on the no­tion of not set­tling on an un­happy life for the sake of tra­di­tion. It’s also a sym­bi­ot­ic dance of an in­die: For every mis­deed and broken law with which No­lan as­sists Leo, Leo in­spires No­lan to re­mem­ber, yet again, to be him­self. The film’s dir­ect­or, Dito Mon­tiel (“A Guide to Re­cog­niz­ing Your Saints”), has his­tor­ic­ally op­er­ated on gritty ter­rain. Here, he visu­al­izes a gentle story of one man’s sad, yet free­ing and es­sen­tial, re­birth. “Boulevard” makes fresh use of the clich&ea­cute; that it’s nev­er too late. 

Boulevard

R
Opens to­mor­row at the Ritz at the Bourse 
 

Re­com­men­ded Rent­al

It Fol­lows

R
Avail­able Now

[if !sup­portEmp­ty­Paras] [en­dif]With a cast led by rising star­let Maika Mon­roe, “It Fol­lows,” dir­ec­ted by Dav­id Robert Mitchell, is one of the most cel­eb­rated hor­ror films in years, bring­ing prestige and ac­claim to a genre that’s of­ten con­sidered a just-for-kicks arena. After a fate­ful sexu­al en­counter, Jay (Mon­roe), is haunted by vis­ions and the sense she’s be­ing stalked, and as the ten­sion mounts, “It Fol­lows” pro­claims it­self 2015’s thrill­er to beat. 

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