Harry + Max

Daring even by the standards of recent gay dramas, Christopher Munch's follow-up to the widely acclaimed SLEEPY TIME GAL is not for everyone, particularly anyone disturbed by incest between two brothers. Harry (Bryce Johnson) and his younger teenage brother, Max (Cole Williams), are pop stars at very different points in their separate careers (think Nick...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Daring even by the standards of recent gay dramas, Christopher Munch's follow-up to the widely acclaimed SLEEPY TIME GAL is not for everyone, particularly anyone disturbed by incest between two brothers. Harry (Bryce Johnson) and his younger teenage brother, Max (Cole Williams), are pop stars at very different points in their separate careers (think Nick and Aaron Carter). Blond Max's debut album has already landed him in the pages of "Teen Bopper" magazine, but he has every intention of keeping it real: He makes no secret of the fact that he's gay. Dark-haired Harry, who claims to be straight, is well into his twenties and has already sold out to become part of yet another phenomenally popular flash-in-the-pan boy band, but worries that his career will end before he gets the chance to record something worthwhile. Harry has flown all the way to California to spend the weekend camping with his brother in hopes of repairing some of the damage caused by his move to New York City. Max also hopes their time together will help clarify the sexual relationship that began two summers ago during a trip to Bermuda. Harry warns Max about what it would mean for their careers should it ever become known that these two famous brothers were also lovers, but he wants him just as badly. Their weekend together only confuses matters further, so each brother turns to the other's former sexual partners in an attempt to make an indirect physical connection. Harry seduces Josiah (Tom Gilroy), Max's 40-year-old yoga instructor, while Max sleeps with Harry's ex-girlfriend — and Max's closest friend — Nikki (Rain Phoenix). Clearly Mom has failed to teach her sons about proper boundaries, and that's a big part of what Munch's film is about. Max is trying to establish his own identity in spite of the machinations of his manager mother (Michelle Phillips) and equally manipulative older brother, who puts his own emotional needs first. The incest aspect, however, is a bit of a problem. It's one thing to normalize Harry and Max's relationship to the point where sex between siblings can be discussed without the usual hysterical revulsion, but it's quite another to take it to a level of normalcy where none of the psychological issues underlying incest are broached. For all its maturity — and nice performances from Johnson and Phoenix — the film winds up dancing around the 500-lb gorilla in the middle of the room rather than facing the pathology of its real subject head-on.

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  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Daring even by the standards of recent gay dramas, Christopher Munch's follow-up to the widely acclaimed SLEEPY TIME GAL is not for everyone, particularly anyone disturbed by incest between two brothers. Harry (Bryce Johnson) and his younger teenage brothe… (more)

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