Patrick Murray (Jonathan Groff) returns to San Francisco for the wedding of best friend Augustine, played by Frankie J. Alvarez, to his partner Eddie (Daniel Franzese). While in town he questions why he left and what it means to be happy. After some harsh truths from former boss and ex- lover Kevin (Russell Tovey), will Patrick finally learn what it takes to love and truly commit to ex-boyfriend Richie (Raul Castillo), the love of his life?
This one-off TV special brings the ground-breaking U.S series, Looking (2014), about three gay men looking for love in San Francisco to a satisfactory close. Helmed by executive producer Andrew Haigh, writer and director of indie tear-jerker, Weekend (2011), who also wrote and directed several of the 18 episodes of the show’s 2-season run, naturally Haigh was the man to help Looking take its final bow.
Lead Jonathan Groff is terrific as lonely heart Patrick Murray, and those long and pained moments of silent yearning are when this gifted actor’s talent shines at its brightest. His quiet sadness overflows with the heart-breaking emptiness aching within every soul that can only be filled by the unconditional love of another human being. That special someone to grow old and gay with.
Daniel Franzese of Mean Girls (2004) fame delivers some great comedic bursts in the frantic approach to his own wedding. Meanwhile, the gang’s token straight chick Doris, played by the wonderful Lauren Weedman, is as magnetic and hilarious as ever as she simultaneously complains and gushes about descending further into her own heterosexuality.
A surprise performance comes from Tovey, who I’ve never really cared for, but here he nails the emotion of the scene as he and Patrick part ways for the last time. Unfortunately, things just don’t feel quite as resolved for Dom, a series mainstay, but I guess both the show and this movie wouldn’t be what they are if someone wasn’t still looking.
Looking: The Movie was commissioned by HBO as a means of resolution, to tie up all the loose ends left hanging from the season 2 finale. Thankfully, Haigh’s film does so much more than that. It helps the loyal, the invested, the hard-journeyed fans say goodbye to characters that felt like the most genuine representation of who they are. And seen as the end is nigh, it brings the drama! We do love a bit of that. Naturally…