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I’ve seen Alan Cumming in a few film roles, and I like the eccentricity he brings to the screen. He did a Q&A after the showing of this movie at the film festival, and he’s a very kind, intelligent, funny man. I have nothing against Cumming.

However, I found Suffering Man’s Charity to be completely ridiculous. This movie is bizarre, eccentric, and inappropriate, and not in a gloriously John-Waters sense. I wondered sometimes if screenwriter Tom Gallagher just tried to make the story as weird as possible.

Cumming plays John Vandermark, a classical music teacher who, throughout his life, has housed men with potential and turned them into sophisticated members of society. He feels that his most recent pick-up, Sebastian (David Boreanaz), is abusing John’s charity. After a fight, John holds Sebastian hostage, and after a subplot develops involving Sebastian’s novel, (supposedly) hilarity ensues.

I was a loner in the theater, as most of the audience loved it and was in fits of laughter throughout the film. I love dark comedy, but this is beyond black and off the color wheel. At that point, the movie is no longer a comedy: it’s just dark. There’s also some campy moments speckled throughout the movie that don’t really help one take the movie even a tad seriously. I tried to just lay back and appreciate the movie for what it was, but that’s why I took the other road and tried to look at it differently: I didn’t like the movie for what it was.

I predict, based on the audience’s reaction, that once it hits theaters and DVD, this movie will become a cult classic. I can surely see this being a favorite among “indie” fans looking for something eccentric for the sake of being eccentric. Not my kind of movie, but I think there is definitely an audience for Suffering Man’s Charity out there.


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