It’s taken a while for Four Moons to get to the UK, but now it’s here and it’s worth the wait. The film is based around a concept that could have overwhelmed the movie itself, but thankfully it works due to care that’s taken with the stories it tells.
Four Moons follows four separate gay-themed tales, each focusing on a different time in life and the stages of relationships. The ‘New Moon’ is an adolescent who is just figuring out his sexuality and isn’t sure what to do with his feelings for his cousin. However, acting on those feelings may backfire and cause him major trouble. There are also two young men, one straight and the other closeted but just out of a relationship with a man. These old friends end up sleeping together and embark on a relationship, but tension quickly arises due to the fact one of them is adamant that no one else should ever know about what is going on, as he is terrified of what others will think and whether it will hurt his family.
The third tale centres around the potential implosion of a relationship between a couple who’ve been together for over a decade. One of them has already started dating someone else, while the other will seemingly do anything to save their relationship. However, the ‘cheating’ partner may not know what he really wants, and because of that he risks losing everything. Finally, there’s an older, married (to a woman) professor who likes to spend time in a gay sauna, where he becomes fascinated by a hot, young hustler. Sex with the young man will cost a lot of money, but the further out of his reach the hustler is, the more the professor wants him.
Rather than telling the stories one after another, Four Moons jumps from one to another, contrasting the beginning of a relationship with the end, and expressing your sexuality as a youth and as an older man. While it could have seemed gimmicky, it works surprisingly well. Each of the tales is interesting and emotionally engaging.
There are moments when it feels like the issues it’s exploring are going to overwhelm the story, but it always pulls itself back thanks to a commitment to the characters, and a real concern for their well-being. The only story that genuinely feels in danger of failing is the one involving the relationship that may be on the cusp of breaking down. Initially it feels like it’s giving the partner who’s cheating on his boyfriend a free pass, and that the other half of the relationship is a complete doormat who’s allowing his boyfriend to get away with murder. However, it slowly reveals that it’s rather smarter than that, and that there are repercussions to putting yourself ahead of everyone else’s feelings.
Each of the stories manages to be in turns sweet, funny, sad and tense. They’re also all a little sexy, whether it’s a surprisingly humorous scene featuring a previously ‘straight’ guy trying anal sex for the first time, a hustler tantalising a potential client in a sauna, or contrasting the wild, sexual passion of a new relationship with the more staid domesticity of a long-term relationship.
The stories deal with interesting ideas about the stages of both life and sexuality, and it does it extremely well. It’s just a shame the film didn’t arrive in the UK sooner.
Overall Verdict: An involving and often sexy quartet of tales, looking at different stages of life and relationships, all told in a smart and entertaining way.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac