Looking: The Movie

For many years I didn’t have HBO. One reason I wanted to get it was to watch “Game of Thrones” as it aired instead of waiting a whole year to watch it on DVD (check out my blog on the season 6 finale). Then in May of 2013 I saw a story that HBO was making a show about a group of gay friends in San Francisco. More than “Game of Thrones” the idea of watching the show that would become known as “Looking” got me excited to get HBO.

From the very first episode I became a diehard “Looking” fan. Upon the completion of the first season I did one of my first blog entries on it. Then before the second season aired I re-watched the first season and did a new blog entry after taking a second look at the first season. I loved and blogged about all ten episodes of the second season, from episode one in the woods, to Patrick’s HIV panic in episode two, to Patrick and Kevin’s first night together in episode three, to two breakups in episode four, to Patrick and Richie’s trip to the East Bay in episode five, to Patrick’s meltdown at his Halloween party in episode six, to Doris’ dad dying in episode seven, to Gaymer X in episode eight, to the showdown at the zoo with Patrick’s sister in episode nine, all the way to the giant fight between Patrick and Kevin in episode ten. I was heartbroken when HBO did not renew “Looking” for a third season but I can’t say I blame them. The LGBT community let this show down by not watching it. I really feel incredibly grateful that HBO gave us “Looking: The Movie” so that we were able to see these amazing characters one last time and give them a proper good-bye.

To prepare for the movie my husband and I re-watched the entire series. I have season one on DVD and thanks to HBO Go it was not a problem watching season 2. I tried to avoid as much information as possible about “Looking: The Movie” because I wanted to go knowing as little as possible. I was successful in the quest, at least until we started watching season 2. HBO GO had the preview for the movie before the first two episodes of season 2 so ended up watching the preview that I had previously gone out of my way to avoid. My husband and I also watched a Live Facebook interview with Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett. The preview did get me even more excited for the movie, as did the interview but in retrospect I kind of wish I hadn’t seen either and had been able to go with my initial plan of going into the movie knowing as little as possible. While neither the movie or the interview had true spoilers they did have things that were spoiler adjacent.

Anyway, onto the movie…I absolutely LOVED the movie. There were so many unanswered questions at the end of season 2.

I’ll start with Patrick. Over the course of “Looking” it was very interesting to watching Patrick go from a very unsure man who questioned everything to very confident man we saw in the movie.

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The Patrick of the first two seasons always seemed to care way too much what other people thought of him. A large part of that was tied to his family and especially his relationship with is mother. If I had guessed what would happen to Patrick at the end of season 2 I certainly wouldn’t have predicted he would leave San Francisco and move back to Colorado. It would have seemed like moving closer to his parents wouldn’t have been a good thing for him. However, the Patrick that returns to San Francisco at the start of the movie is very, very different than the Patrick that had Richie buzz all of hair off at the end of season 2. This Patrick is not only more confident at work, he is in charge of his own team back in Colorado, but sexually he has come into his own. Early on in the movie we watch Patrick move across a club and instead of just walking he is on the verge of strutting. This confidence is certainly what leads to him having an incredibly hot hook up with a younger guy early in the movie.

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Yet, Patrick still has ghosts to deal with in the form of Richie and Kevin. After being gone for nine months Patrick finds that Richie is still with the abrasive Brady.

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As for Kevin…Patrick and Kevin do meet for a very dramatic cup of coffee. During this scene Kevin reveals that he is back with his ex-boyfriend Jon. This confirms my belief that Kevin is incapable of being alone. It also shows that Jon is utterly and truly in love and devoted to Kevin. Over the course of “Looking” we know that Jon moved from Seattle to San Francisco for Kevin, had Kevin break up with him, took Kevin back, opened up their relationship and will soon be moving with Kevin to London. Jon has always been the unknown element to this show and in an alternate universe he would have gotten much more screen time and we could have seen exactly what made him tick and in what ways his relationship with Kevin both worked and didn’t work.

Back to Kevin and Patrick. Kevin is awful to Patrick during their cup of coffee. He calls Patrick out for not giving their relationship a chance and we basically come to realize that Patrick never really loved Kevin but that Kevin is still in love with Patrick. Their meeting is as fucked up as their entire relationship was. I now believe that Kevin would have tried to be monogamous with Patrick, I don’t necessarily believe he would have been successful but he would have tried. However, Patrick was more in love with the idea of Kevin and him being together then the reality of it and he did do the right thing by moving out since his heart wasn’t in it.

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There is no doubt that these two men have an intense connection but it is one that was plagued by bad timing, a lack of honestly and a breakdown in communication. I can’t like Kevin but as Patrick watched him disappear underground to ride the muni I couldn’t truly hate him either.

That left Patrick to deal with the other complicated relationship, the one that began in episode one of season one and that, of course, is his relationship with Richie. Just like there is an obvious connection between Patrick and Kevin there is also an obvious connection between Patrick and Richie, but they are very different connections. I think the connection with Kevin was primarily a sexual one. It was exciting and dangerous and fun. The connection with Richie is one of love and friendship. It isn’t as exciting and it isn’t dangerous but it is deeper and longer lasting. The problem is that Richie is still with Brady. But over the course of the movie we see that Brady is probably an alcoholic and is also very, very jealous of Patrick. I truly believe that Patrick did not go to San Francisco with the intent of breaking up Richie and Brady. However, after Brady throws shade at Patrick one too many times Patrick finally hits back and it leads to a show down between Patrick and Brady. At the end of the movie we find that Richie has broken up with Brady and has returned to the club where Patrick is. The two of them kiss.

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As the movie comes to an end we find the two of them walking around the Castro in the middle of the night talking. They want to be together but they have had a rough road both behind them and possibly in front of them. Patrick may have changed but Richie knows him well enough to know he has freaked out in the past. Patrick is considering moving back to San Francisco only to find out that Richie wants to leave. The two men struggle to figure out what will happen right as their paths reconnect. As the movie ends they don’t know what their next move is but as Richie gives Patrick a silent nod it is clear they will be making it together.

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There were two things early in the movie that really showed how much Richie loves Patrick and those were two pieces of advice from Patrick that Richie took. One didn’t turn out well and the other one did. It turns out Richie did confront his dad about his homophobia and it didn’t have a possible result. However, on the other hand Richie took another piece of Patrick’s advice and opened up a mobile barber shop which is a big success. I really like how Richie tried both of these things and the realistic outcome that the results were mixed.

Patrick was always the primary focus of “Looking” but there are several other characters that I love that got a wonderful send offs as well.

Dom and Doris have allowed their relationship to evolve. His peri-peri chicken window has taken off and he is happy at work. Her relationship with Malik has established itself to the point where she is talking about having a baby. I love the relationship between Dom and Doris because it is so real. As gay men and their fag hags grow older lives they lead begin to differ. Like many a fag hag before her Doris finds that her romantic relationship needs to be the priority but with that a closeness with Dom dissipates. These two will remain lifelong friends but things have shifted. It’s clear that Doris needed to break away from Dom to have her relationship with Malik.  And Dom needed to let her go and focus on his own life. Their ending is a bittersweet one because although both of them are in a good place it is obvious that their relationship will never be the same.

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Then there is Augustin…Augustin in the first season was a vortex of destruction. But ever so slowly he began to change in season 2. Here in the movie we find that the couple that is getting married is Augustin and Eddie. This is great because at the end of season 1 nobody would have ever predicted that Augustin would be the one with the 100% happy ending.

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I am so happy for Eddie. The addition of Eddie to the show brought a humor to the show and  a heart to Augustin.

I love that Agustin’s ex Frank made and appearance in the film.

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I do wish that we had seen Dom’s ex Lynn.

My husband and I watched the movie twice the nigh it aired. Although I was semi-spoiled on some things because of the preview and the interview I still adored every minute of it. The movie did a perfect job of moving ahead nine months and perfectly illustrating where these characters would be at that point. To varying degrees they all changed but they all changed in a way that made sense for that particular character.

I am still quite sad knowing that I won’t see anything new from these characters again but I’ve watched so many TV shows go well past their primes so I suppose it’s better to go out too early than too late.

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Here is a description:

Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.

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2 thoughts on “Looking: The Movie

  1. I love Looking so much!!! There was a time when Queer As Folk was the most groundbreaking gay series of our time. Despite not being as popular or mainstream as it’s early 2000’s counterpart, Looking has now taken the baton from QAF and become the most groundbreaking gay series of this decade. It did it without campiness or stereotypes. It did it by making gay characters perfectly normal, but wonderfully flawed.

    I loved Patrick’s transition in the movie. He’s no longer the awkward goofy guy that embarrasses himself on dates. Now he’s fully in control of his own life, identity and sexuality. He’s confident and almost cocky. This is clearly apparent when he’s dancing in the club and makes eye contact with that young twink, and basically seduces him by just looking at him. The old Patrick would never have the guts to do something like that. And it was amazing to behold, not just in terms of the transformation the character has gone through in 9 months, but the terrific performance by Jonathan Groff. I also love how Patrick is able to redeem himself for all his past transgressions. His speech as Agustin’s maid of dishonor is a call back to the terrible speech he gave during his Halloween party in Season 2. But this new and improved, Patrick has full control of the situation, gives a beautiful speech for his best friend, and refuses to make it about him even though he’s overjoyed with emotion as well. Compare that to how he hijacked Doris’ grief in Season 2 during her dad’s funeral. Patrick has certainly evolved. He also stands up for himself. When Brady throws jabs at him, he brushes him off like an annoying gnat, not allowing Brady to get under his skin and tap into his insecurities. When he finally confronts Brady at the end of the movie, he does it with confidence. This scene also mirrors their previous confrontation at the Halloween party, when Patrick had a meltdown and Brady kept his cool. This time the roles are reversed. Brady is the one hijacking someone else’s moment by having a meltdown, while exposing all of his insecurities for everyone to see. This time, it’s Patrick that displays confidence, dignity and grace by reminding himself that this is about Eddie and Agustin, not his personal differences with Brady.

    Speaking of doing an 180 degree turn, perhaps no other character has undergone a bigger change than Agustin. If you could name an antagonist in Season 1, Agustin would have been it. He was mean spirited, destructive, selfish, petty, and arrogant. But Eddie really brought out the best in him. The scene where Patrick is helping him through his crisis is an indicator on how much Agustin has changed. The Agustin we met in Season 1 would have made that crisis all about him, all about how his needs are not met, how his art is suffering due to conformity and monotony. The new and improved Agustin is more concerned about Eddie’s happiness, about not being the man that Eddie deserves, and he’s deeply trouble that his knack for self-destructive behavior could end up hurting Eddie. It seems to me that like many of us, Agustin’s many mistakes in his relationship with Frank have allowed him to grow and be a better boyfriend to Eddie. Speaking of Frank, I was so happy to make him see an appearance and reconcile with Agustin. Sometimes, two people are better friends than they are lovers. That certainly seems to apply to Agustin and Frank.

    Then there’s Dom and Doris. When we first met them back in Season 1, it seemed like they were stuck in a state of arrested development. Two 40 year olds living like 20 year olds. Dom still chasing guys half his age, and Doris his eternal fag hag devoted to him and putting his needs ahead of her own. Their lives have certainly changed. Now that Dom’s business has taken off, he doesn’t even have time for casual sex. And Doris is so domesticated that she throws dinner parties and is obsessed with the container store. What I find most endearing of their relationship comes towards the end of the movie when Doris confesses to Dom that she and Malik are trying to have a baby. This is actually difficult for Doris because she always imagined having a baby with Dom. This is sweet and heartbreaking. Gay men and their fag hags have such complicated relationships. It’s not romantic love, but it’s love nonetheless, deep and meaningful, full of dreams, aspirations and intimacy. And more often than not, those dreams and aspirations don’t pan out how we envision them. Fag hags cling on to their gay friend for an emotional intimacy that they believe will never be found in a heterosexual partner. Gay men resent their fag hags for leaving them for another relationship, whether it’s ill-fated or long lasting. But Dom and Doris have moved past that cycle of co-dependence and resentment. They have let each other go because their love is real and strong. And I believe they are happier because of it.

    Now, we come to Kevin. In my opinion, Kevin is the most complicated character in the series. Yes, even more complicated than Agustin. Whereas Agustin can be an awful person, destructive to himself and others, he seems to learn from his mistakes and move on. Kevin lacks that kind of self awareness. Kevin is the only character in the series that doesn’t grow, doesn’t change, doesn’t move on. In fact, Kevin continuously makes the same mistakes and runs back to what is most familiar to him, regardless of the emotional devastation he leaves behind him. Kevin is truly tragic. When he sees Patrick again, we see all the anger, pain, and resentment rise to the surface. In truth, Kevin is broken hearted. We discover that he truly loved Patrick, that he truly wanted their relationship to work, that he truly would have “tried” to be monogamous. But, Patrick knows better. He’s seen Kevin’s dishonesty first hand. He knows how duplicitous and manipulative he can be. So, Patrick rightfully fled before more damage could be done. It was not cowardice as Kevin believes. It was actually a moment of self-awareness and Patrick waking up from the fantasy life he had created and seeing the harsh reality. It was Patrick being honest with himself and admitting that he never really loved Kevin. It’s ironic that Kevin accuses Patrick of cowardice, when in reality Kevin is the real coward. He’s not able to face his heartbreak on his own. Instead he runs back to Jon like a child clinging on to a security blanket, despite the fact that he still loves Patrick. The goodbye scene between Patrick and Kevin was heartbreaking to watch. Kevin destroyed his relationship with Jon for Patrick, but it was for nothing. It was only sex. It was only a fantasy. But what else can be expected when a relationship is built on lies and deceit? Yet for all of his flaws, I couldn’t Kevin. I felt sorry for him because he will never change. He will never fill that void in his heart, and he will be unhappy for the rest of his life.

    And finally we reached Richie. There are actually quite a few parallels between Richie, Kevin and Patrick. Like Kevin, Richie jumped into relationship with a man he doesn’t love in a feeble attempt to get over Patrick. Like Patrick, Richie is really kidding himself when it comes to Brady. He’s not really the man that Richie wants to build a relationship with. Brady is merely a place holder. I would feel bad for Brady under regular circumstance, but Brady is so unlikeable that it’s hard to feel bad for him, even when we all know that he’s being used. And let’s be honest. Richie is emotionally using him. The difference between Richie and Kevin is that Richie understands what he’s doing and feels bad about it. At the end of the movie, he tells Patrick that he “can’t do this” after barely breaking up with Brady less than two hours ago. This reveals a level of empathy for others that Kevin lacks and is unable to understand. Since I was always Team Richie, I was quite happy that Patrick finally got the courage to tell him how much he loved him. I was happy to see their love story reach a happy ending. In my view, Richie always represented true love, while Kevin represented raw sexual energy. I’m happy that Patrick finally made the right choice.

    I’m so happy with the ending of Looking, but I’m also incredibly sad because I will never see these characters’ lives unfold on screen again. Unlike Queer As Folk, who presented a fantasy yet alien gay world to me when I was in my mid 20s, Looking presented me with a view of gay life that I could relate and understand. I appreciate the struggles that the characters face. I’m thankful that HBO gave us two wonderful seasons and a movie of this amazing show. I will miss Looking deeply now that it’s gone, but I remain thankful for having experienced it in the first place.

  2. Well first of foremost I would love to say thank you to HBO for allowing us the gay community for finally having to show them most of us could identify two in each one of the characters you were displayed I was in credible fan of HBO Looking from the first moment I watched it with my partner I completely identified with the character Richie and fell in love with him and Patrick’s romance from the jumpstart and I love the way the movie ended however I wish it was in the end because it made me want more more more it was an incredible casts incredible story line it was more of a realistic lifestyle of us could trade on the show not like most movies to Petray homosexuality is being drug addicts or sex addicts and cruising areas it showed friendly ties romance and the ups and downs between situations and that’s what I enjoyed most about it I was HBO never ended it I wish you could continue however I know all things to come to an end however you guys to leave us hanging at the end so hopefully that will be a second movie it would be in the best interest of the writers and producers of the show to make a movie too there’s money to be spent and definitely we will support it really you come across a show as good as this specially for our community and we atleast I know I did thank you for giving me the ending I so waited to see Richie and Patrick together or at least that’s the way it seems i’m a guy from New York and my partners from San Francisco funny ain’t it differences I’m Puerto Rican and Irish and German he’s Mexican however I’m the Richie in the relationship I’m more of the dominant I guess you could say Butch type and my fiancé is a make up artist and our friends well his friends doubted our relationship from the gecko and three years later we’re still together just like the first day and so like Richie’s character I let no one get in the way my tough this didn’t allow it I’m a very outspoken person and I don’t say nonsense from no one and that’s what I admired about Richie so again that was the character identified with and fell in love with incredible actor as well as all the rest thank you again you have to give us apart two….

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