Most LGBTQ peeps have one time or another have been touched by the scenario when a gay relationship ends suddenly with the death of one of the partners. Instead of being allowed to grief properly the survivor is immediately set upon by relatives of the deceased, most of whom have never been seen for years. If there is no kind of Will then so often the grieving widow/er is hastily evicted out of the house that has been their home for years. Unprotected by the Law they are left helpless and homeless whilst the estranged biological family make a quick buck .
‘Give or Take’ is a new take on this old tale. Martin (Jamie Effros) has come home to Cape Cod to bury his recently deceased father Kenneth. The two had become estranged after Martin’s mother had died some years ago. and Ken had come out as gay.
He had partnered with a younger man, his lawn guy, Ted (Norbert Leo Butz), and they’d been living together in Ken’s house ever since.
Martin had become so disconnected from his father, never ever visiting or even phoning to maintain any contact. His own life back in NY was overly organized leaving little room for any emotions, which he is now discovering his father was full off.
Re-connecting with his old school mates he discovers his father was not the distant man he had been with him, but was very well liked in the community for being both a caring and compassionate man. It’s something that Ted was also willing to share with him, but Martin couldn’t accept their relationship at all and so just shut him out completely.
Without a Will the house which Ken had shared with Ted was now left to Martin, and now why he was staying there temporarily, he tried to sell it from under Ted’s feet
Give or Take is the feature film directing debut of Paul Riccio from a script he wrote with his leading actor (Jamie Effros). This gentle tale is about love and loss and the need to be open to the realities and opportunities that may appear to be outside our comfort zone. It took time for Martin to finally accept that embracing Ted’s relationship with Ken was mending the bond with his father which he now knows he should never have broken.
The scenario will sadly resound with so many people even though so often it will not end as well as this one does. This should be enough for any LGBTQ couple standing on the precipice of marriage, to now definitely take the plunge
Kudos to two-time Tony Award Winner Norbert Leo Butz making a far too rare appearance on the silver screen for his finely nuanced performance as Ted. We really should see more of him in movies.