Captain Rowdy’s review published on Letterboxd:
Certainly can't argue that these aren't two real people falling in love. A phenomena so less common than decapitations in film. To the point that people like me yearn for such contingency to make us regular. But perhaps mainstream cinema will follow suit in 50 years and it will become the norm.
Weekend is a gay love story that takes place over two days. In the era of cel phones and grindr. Hint, it's modern day. And deals with the difficulty of finding someone to build a relationship with amongst the noise. Particularly the troubles facing young gay men. It's easy for people to look at Glen and Russell and decide it doesn't matter that they're gay. But it most certainly does matter that they're gay. Russell's isolation and disconnect from his friends is because he's closed off to them. Why? Because he's uncomfortable with his sexuality. He meets Glen at a gay bar (a scene accurately decorated with uncertainty.) As they play the game of you look, I look. And then we sleep together. Gay men are notoriously shady/fearful even in bars made for them. Sounds close minded, but I have observed this myself.
Glen is the more colorful of the two. He is somewhere between a street rat and a New York Intellectual. He's meta, and feisty - reminding me of several people I've known. I've been in love with all of them, of course. And have created characters like Glen in my head. So his speeches about gay zeitgeist and 'straight culture' are pretty obvious, obligatory and recognizable. Nothing he says surprises, because it's common knowledge to me. However not everyone watching Weekend is part of the gay culture and doesn't already understand the ideology. So then Weekend speaks like a public forum at times (usually when Glen speaks).
Seems like an over-dissection for this movie, but its not. Weekend happens in moments - scene by scene. And the implicit meaning may be wasted on those that fail to look. But just wait for Glen to tell you, because he will. The explicit nature of the dialogue caught me off guard and didn't really captivate me. A similar quality is evident in the camera work which is very obvious as well. Framing sexually frustrated Russell as two scantily clothed swimmers display their affection publicly. Slap us in the face with it.
Netflix describes Weekend as FRANK. And it really is to the point in every scene. The depictions of sex are raw and sweaty. Very sexy, but not gratuitous. Sex is not fetishized, it's observed. Rather gorgeously. But not clinical. This is how people make love, despite director Andrew Haigh's Q&A session after a showing of Weekend resulted in him describing how two men 'could have sex facing each other.' It's probably something everyone needs to be educated on.
Post-Weekend, I sit and wonder who this movie is for? Straight people, so unknowing of gay problems on this level, so 'privileged or uncaring?' Or is it gay people? I admit the story of two men turning a one night stand into something more is a story I can live through vicariously (lol). But the explicit dialogue and stating of discourse and common belief...is it necessary? Maybe. Maybe Weekend is pioneer (I know I had an emotional experience). And we get to know Russell and Glen so well that it feels WE THE AUDIENCE is in a relationship with them. Maybe that's the point. To no longer dehumanize gay characters, but to show them as living, breathing, fucking, farting, eating, drinking people. I am on board for that.