In Bloom has been compared to the Brit gay hit Weekend, and while the former isn’t quite as good as the latter, you can understand why those comparisons have been made.
The film charts the relationship between Kurt (Kyle Wigent) and Paul (Tanner Rittenhouse) over the course of one summer. Initially the couple are deeply in love, but quickly the cracks begin to show. Kurt is happy living in Chicago but wants to be able to spend his life dealing pot, smoking joints and to have at least some sense of freedom. Paul meanwhile isn’t that interested in the drug scene or partying (and isn’t very good at it), but he does want to see more of the world than Chicago, even if he’d prefer to do it with him and Kurt as a tight-knit unit.
As the summer progresses their problems become increasingly difficult to ignore, particularly when another young guy starts to pursue Kurt, and Paul begins to get increasingly needy.
In Bloom attempts to dissect a relationship without too many plot histrionics beyond the fact the city is in fear of a serial killer. Many will be able to see echoes of their own past relationships in Kurt and Paul, where no matter how much attraction there was initially, you can’t escape the things that are pulling you apart.
It is flawed though, largely because it doesn’t feel like you’re getting the true picture. I started to feel In Bloom is almost like being told what went wrong with a relationship by only one half of a former couple. They may admit some minor flaws in their own character, but when it comes to the crux of what went wrong and their part in it, the blame comes down squarely on the other person – even if it’s obvious to the person listening that perhaps that’s not quite the whole story. Indeed I couldn’t help feeling the person who comes off better in the film is actually more culpable for what went wrong.
Part of the problem is the film doesn’t spend much time saying what the guys’ initial connection was, which leaves a bit of a hole in the movie. It’s also true that both guys have a rather obnoxious side – as well as a lot of charm – but it feels as is one of the guys is forgiven for that obnoxiousness, while the other is blamed for it.
It is a little annoying, although I suppose if you feel more like the guy who always seems to be given a free pass, you’ll enjoy it all the more.
If you can look beyond that there’s a lot to recommend. There are times when its rather sweet, very personal and romantic, mixed with moments that are raw, painful and exposed. As mentioned most people will recognise plenty of aspects of their own past relationships in the movie, and on that score it works extremely well, even if like what happens after many break-ups, where you don’t feel like one person’s role in it has been fairly portrayed.
Overall Verdict: In most respects In Bloom is a nicely observed dissection of a relationship in trouble, but it does become frustrating that it tends to side with one of the young men in a way that doesn’t feel quite true to the characters.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac