Alive And Kicking

on July 25, 1997 by Bridget Byrne
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"Indian Summer," this film's original title, is more evocative and better suited to the mood here than the more jaunty "Alive and Kicking" moniker under which it's being released. Despite the provocative energies of its leading couple, this story of love in the face of illness needs its sense of melancholy transience to resonante it order to affect audiences fully. Sometimes it succeeds, but at other times the deeper feelings twirl away in teasing superficiality, much in the way Jason Flemyng's character leads his life before he meets his match.
Both Flemyng ("Stealing Beauty") as Tonio, a glamor boy dancer, and Anthony Sher as Jack, a plain therapist, give lively, starry performances in which their indulgences are more often entertainingly surprising rather than merely showoff turns. As they try to bring the surface and interior of their couple's lives into harmony, they prove a discordant but compelling couple in a love story that's appealing in its awkward intensity.
Playwright Martin Sherman ("Bent") has created well-etched, multi-layered characters. It's easy to envision the love story of Tonio and Jack just being played out duet style on stage, without any need for the scenic backdrops that a film work demands. But the issue of AIDS, which underlies their life choices, and the milieu of the English dance world, around which the story is set, are not as fully realized as the lead roles. Also, little new terrain is covered, though both Anthony Higgins as a dying superstar and Dorothy Tutin as an addled prima donna catch their own brief spotlights with bright and touching wit. Starring Jason Flemyng and Anthony Sher. Directed by Nancy Meckler. Written by Martin Sherman. Produced by Martin Pope. A First Look release. Drama/romance. Rated R for some strong sexuality, and for nudity and language. Running time: 110 min.
Tags: Jason Flemyng, Anthony Sher, Nancy Meckler, Martin Sherman, Martin Pope. A First Look release. Drama/romance
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