Canadian director Bruce LaBruce's Gerontophilia opened
Wednesday at the Venice Film Festival.
The film follows a May-December romance between Lake (played by
Pier-Gabriel Lajoie), a nursing home attendant just out of high
school, and Melvyn Peabody (Walter Borden), an 81-year-old patient at
France24's Jon Frosch called the film “likeable” but flawed.
“As likable as it is, Gerontophilia is too vaguely
sketched, too clumsy and eager to make an impact,” Frosch
wrote. “But given that film festivals often find directors
competing to see who can be the most outre, it's refreshing to see
someone take a shocker of a premise and soften it with humor and
Variety's Jay Weissberg said the film went limp after a
funny opening. Both reviewers criticized the film's acting.
“Maybe if the actors had been coached to actually act, it would
have come across better, but their painfully stilted delivery is
leaden rather than campily artificial,” Weissberg
Both agreed that the film – given its director and title – was
surprisingly sweet. (The film's trailer is embedded on this page.
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LaBruce's last film, L.A. Zombie, was censored in Australia
for including gay porn scenes, and his 1996 film Hustler White,
which featured Madonna's then-boyfriend Tony Ward as a male
prostitute, stirred controversy with a graphical, cringe-inducing
amputee sex scene.