Taking place during the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, Shared Rooms focuses on three couples in Los Angeles, whose stories are interrelated. Laslo (Christopher Grant Pearson) and Cal (Alec Manley Wilson) have no desire for children but when Cal’s nephew Zeke (Ryan Weldon) shows up they are forced to deal with parenthood, Gray (Alexander Neil Miller) and Sid (Justin Xavier) connect through a hook-up app and spend time getting to know one another, and Julian (Daniel Lipshutz) is caught hiring his room-mate Dylan’s (Robert Werner) room out while he’s out of town stirring up unresolved feelings.
Shared Rooms is the latest film from writer/director Rob Williams and it’s a very sweet and entertaining affair. It feels like it may have been inspired by Modern Family, particularly the way the stories connect to one another, and that’s certainly no bad thing. Of the three stories told during the course of the film, it’s the one of Laslo and Cal that resonates the strongest and is perhaps the most pertinent. Cal’s nephew Zeke arrives on his doorstep after being thrown out by his mother for being gay. Zeke reminds Cal of his younger self and soon takes up residence with his uncles.
Ryan Weldon’s portrayal of Zeke is superb and he’s one of the standout actors in the movie. His performance is natural and charming, and he’s completely believable as a teenager dealing with his sexuality. I particularly enjoyed his scenes with Christopher Grant Pearson’s Laslo and the two share some very funny and sweet moments together.
Julian and Dylan’s story is one that I’m sure most gay men have fantasised about at some point in their life. Dylan harbours feelings for his roommate and when he discovers that his room has been rented out without his knowledge, he’s forced to share a bed with Julian something he finds thrilling and terrifying. It’s enjoyable watching the two actors play uncomfortably around one another and the resolution to their story is predictable but sweet nonetheless.
For those who want guy candy from their movies, look no further than Justin Xavier and Alexander Neil Miller who spend the majority of their time completely naked. From their first hook-up to the time they spend getting to know one another, the two actors keep their clothes off as Sid and Gray respectively. In a world where Grindr and Scruff dominate many single gay men’s smartphones, the relationship that quickly builds between Sid and Gray feels authentic and relevant.
Shared Rooms is a sweet movie that utilises its characters very well. Writer/director Rob Williams gets great performances from his ensemble cast and he’s crafted a film that is sure to resonate with its core audience. It’s nice to find a film that reflects the lives of a group of very different gay men rather than applies broad strokes that adhere only to clichés. Shared Rooms is a holiday movie I’ll be adding to my annual festive movie list.
Cast: Christopher Grant Pearson, Alec Manley Wilson, Ryan Weldon, Justin Xavier Smith, Alexander Neil Miller Director: Rob Williams Writer: Rob Williams Certificate: 18 Duration: 75 mins Released By: TLA Releasing Release Date: 5th December 2016