120 Beats per Minute (2017)

120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

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120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

120 Beats per Minute is a 2017 French drama film directed by Robin Campillo. It is a flawed, but very strong, emotionally resonant film.

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Either we’re dead or we’re alive

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120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

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The film is set during the early nineties and it follows the HIV activists and their movement while also focusing on a romance between two men and the eventual death from AIDS of one of them.

The problem with this film is that its structure is rather odd, unappealing and it just doesn’t work all that well. Basically you get two movies here as one is about this romance and eventual tragedy so it is a pretty personal story whereas the other is a docudrama which is the opposite of that as it focuses on the whole movement and portrays the politics behind it.

Now I liked that story to a degree, but there is no denying that it was overlong and too much like a documentary. Some of it was fascinating, but some of it was boring. But the romance works perfectly and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Sean and Nathan are such well developed, likable, realistic characters so well acted by their actors and so well written too. Their relationship is stupendously portrayed as you follow it from the beginning to the very end and some moments between the two are highly moving and the final scene is heartbreaking for sure. I just wish the whole film was as personal as that storyline.

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120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

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120 Beats per Minute is weakly paced, edited and with an excessive runtime. That is not to say that the film was boring. Quite the contrary is the case actually as it was a very engaging story for me and quite interesting to watch. But there was no need for two hours and twenty minutes here and those twenty minutes could have easily been cut in some parts.

I really liked all of the performances here and the film is very well shot, scripted and with very strong dialogue. It also gives us a lot of facts about the AIDS pandemic and everything about this disease. It follows a horrible time in history filled with chaos and despair and it does portray it realistically. It is thus a very important history lesson and also a very emotional film to watch.

120 Beats per Minute is basically two movies combined into one. One is a docudrama which closely follows the politics and the organization of the ACT UP activists and that one is overly factual and although solid, it is not as interesting as the second storyline which is a heartwarming and eventually tragic romance which is so well crafted and emotionally resonant from start to finish. Overall, the film is overlong and messy, but very well made, interesting and important in its subject matter.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 2010s, 2017, Drama, FILM DECADES, Foreign, French, MOVIE REVIEWS, Romance and tagged , , , , , .

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