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Friday, November 1, 2013

Reeling Review #3: See The Happy Sad at Chicago's LGBT Film Festival

Director Rodney Evans' film, The Happy Sad, made me both happy and sad while watching its characters explore their sexual identities and relationship rules. The story follows two couples - Aaron and Marcus, who have been together six years, and Stan and Annie, who have been dating for six months. In the opening scenes, the romantic status of both changes as Aaron and Marcus decide to experiment with an open relationship despite their happiness together, while Annie informs a surprised Stan that she wants to break up because she's seeing someone else - a woman! And Aaron is Annie and Stan's waiter in the restaurant where their romantic meltdown takes place, which is only the beginning of how the lives of all four of them become intertwined. I'm not going to say much else about the many twists and turns of the film, which kept me guessing until the end, but I must commend screenwriter Ken Urban for adapting his 2009 play, The Happy Sad, into such an interesting movie.

I also have to heap much praise upon the talented, young cast, including Charlie Barnett (NBC's Chicago Fire) and Leroy McClain as Aaron and Marcus, Sorel Carradine as Annie, Maria Dizzia (Netflix's Orange Is the New Black) as Annie's friend Mandy, and singer/songwriter Cameron Scoggins, who - as Stan and in real life - performs with his band, The Whiskey Collection (and I like their music). My only complaint about movie is that it had to end with me wanting to know what happened next to its fascinating characters. In fact, Mr. Urban could easily adapt it once again into a television series that I would definitely watch. But until this wishful thinking becomes a reality, I highly recommend that you check out the wonderful film version of The Happy Sad.

Show time: 9 pm, Friday, November 8, at the Logan Theatre (2646 N. Milwaukee)
Running time: 87 minutes

For a complete schedule of films at Reeling31: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival (which runs November 7 - 14), go to You can purchase tickets online (click here) or in person at Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark) Monday - Friday 10:30 am - 6 pm. You can also get the latest festival news by following Reeling on Twitter and Facebook. And click here to read all my reviews.

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