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Why ''Longtime Companion'' is a top tearjerker

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Bruce Davison, Campbell Scott, ...
Longtime Companion: Everett Collection

Why ”Longtime Companion” is a top tearjerker

In 1981, an article in The New York Times identified the ”gay cancer” that would ultimately ravage the homosexual population. That item’s appearance opens ”Companion” (the title refers to the newspaper-obituary euphemism for gay partners), a film that deftly injects the disease-of-the-week formula with a political agenda, providing its audience with the human face of AIDS. In a series of vignettes that take place over a decade, those faces, an appealing group of loosely connected Manhattanites of varying ages and socioeconomic and romantic status (some of whom get sick, some who don’t), eloquently represent an era filled with fear and loss.

KLEENEX MOMENT ”Let go,” Bruce Davison repeats, reassuring his lover as he gives in, turning the lonely process of dying into a beautiful collaboration.