Critics Love ‘Keep the Lights On’

sparks flying

Keep the Lights On opened for limited release on Friday and is already earning a ton of critical praise. The movie centers around filmmaker Erik Rothman dating Paul Lucy, a closeted lawyer. See what a few critics had to say about the movie:

“Shooting with acute attention to shifting relationship dynamics and cutting in and out of scenes with a graceful fleetness that’s attuned to the rhythms of Erik and Paul’s up-and-down affair, Sachs creates an intensely intimate stew of fear, anger, longing, and regret. He’s aided in this by a sterling Lindhardt, whose unaffected expression of confused, desperate need is both charming and pitiful, and does much to further illuminate the story’s portrait of maturation and the unpleasant —and yet unavoidable—reality that, no matter how ardent, love ultimately can’t survive without trust.” — Village Voice

“As with his previous films, Ira Sachs’ “Keep the Lights On” is a well-written, sensitively directed relationship drama. Lead Thure Lindhardt pushes the picture into realms of such exposed intimacy, you almost feel like you’re dating him yourself. His character’s actual partner is Paul (Zachary Booth), and together they make a handsome, successful Manhattan couple. Erik (Lindhardt) is a passionate documentary filmmaker, and Paul a wealthy lawyer. But they have a secret that can’t stay hidden inside their gorgeous apartment forever: Paul’s deepening drug addiction. Sachs based the movie on his own experience, which gives the story a forceful immediacy. It’s Lindhardt, though, who pulls and twists it into fascinating shapes. The rather bland Booth suffers considerably in comparison, with Paul coming across as frustratingly unworthy of Erik’s devoted efforts.” – NY Daily News

“Ira Sachs’s sensitive, knowing new film follows Erik and Paul for more than a decade, during which their relationship blossoms, withers and renews itself like a perennial flower with a peculiar and unpredictable life cycle. The physical attraction between them is strong and immediate, but they don’t necessarily seem like a promising couple, and not just because Paul is ostensibly straight. That is a minor detail in the greater scheme of things. The more significant obstacle appears to be a temperamental difference.” —NY Times

“The film, though, is as sure-footed as their partnership is not — a nuanced portrait of emotional turmoil, persuasively acted, richly sensual one moment, wrenching the next, and unlike so many films centering on gay characters, not particularly concerned with things like coming out or HIV. The film is, in fact, evocative of a place and time — Manhattan at the turn of the millennium — when two gay, urban sophisticates could manage to mess things up even though they seemingly have everything going for them: money, passion, a gay-friendly environment and friends so supportive they’re almost hectoring in their love.” — NPR

“What’s remarkable is that everything in the movie — how the New York apartments look, the inside glimpses at the life of a filmmaker, the way enabling becomes a form of romance — is as raw and real as the most live-wire memoir. Lindhardt, sweet and childish and achingly vulnerable, gives a stunning performance.” — Entertainment Weekly