Guy Bennett and His Boy
Why didn’t anyone show “Another Country” to me earlier!?
Yesterday evening, my friend showed me one of her favorite movies from high school, Another Country. The 80s film stars Rupert Everett (who looks like someone penciled him from a well-lit picture of a British runway model), Colin Firth (whose young jawline and “fwoofy” hair accompanied his recognizably, surround-sound voice), and the guy from Princess Bride (you know, the main one who says “as you wish” a bunch).
The movie features the experience of a young student named Guy Bennett (played by Everett — I know, his name is Guy — it was a different time!) who navigates the dynamics of being gay at a super religious, British boarding school. Bennett and his friend Tommy Judd (who’s a communist — gasp — but, wait for it, not gay) played by Firth, proceed with their schooling only to be confronted by several events that inspire frustration and anger (in the characters and the viewers).
While you get some serious Tumblr shipping vibes from Another Country, you also get the “real” nitty gritty of what it’s like to be gay at an all-boys, English boarding school. The movie demonstrates the very personal difficulties of living within a system that does so much to keep the realities of homosexuality under lock and key. This includes shaming, ridicule, and punishment, emotional, physical, and academic.
It’s important to consider the fact that the story of Guy Bennett is the story of a privileged white man in twentieth-century England who is rich enough to attend private boarding school. But it’s also important to emotionally consider the moments of unadulterated sweetness, such as when Bennett has dinner with a boy he’s totally been crushing on, or when Bennett and his friend cuddle in a boat at night.
Another Country is filled with dark, scary, and traumatic moments, emotions, and events.
But Another Country also takes the time to give its viewers the keys to entering into the hearts and souls of its characters.
All day, today, I couldn’t get the image of Bennett smiling at his crush at dinner out of my head. When it wasn’t Bennett at the dinner table, it was Bennett and his crush in the boat. I pictured these moments in my head and I pictured them while washing the dishes, thinking of him smile or wondering what my head resting on his chest would feel like.
Those moments are too bittersweet to describe but are too addicting to stop returning to.
When art makes you feel something inside that you’ve been searching for, it can be important to stop and take stock of that moment. Those times can remain with you and help shape who you’ll become.