Movie Review | Big Eden

HEA movie review

Big Eden

Well… I didn’t hate it. And sometimes that’s all you need from a movie.

Okay, maybe that’s not fair. It did move me to tears twice, and I did have a few good laughs in between, but for some reason, I didn’t really connect with this one. Maybe it was the ending….

After hearing that his Grandpa Sam has had a stroke, successful artist Henry leaves his big city life to return to his idyllic birthplace. As he tends to his grandfather, he must also come to terms with his semi-closeted sexuality. Amidst this flurry of painful experiences, he fails to notice the advances of Pike, a sensitive outdoorsman who also cares for Grandpa Sam.

big eden

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The movie starts out a little slow, but I really got into it when Henry’s best friend came back into the picture. Dean, played by the handsome Tim DeKay—okay, maybe I’m biased—was Henry’s bff in high school whom he’s carried a torch for going on twenty years. A good chunk of the movie centers around them rekindling their friendship. The only problem is, I felt more chemistry between them than I did between Henry and Pike.

And that’s really unfortunate.

This is never a good sign when it comes to the romance genre.

There are some underlying reasons for this. First of all, Pike is extremely shy. I mean extremely. He has trouble even looking Henry in the eye for half the movie, which means they had very little dialog, aside from one dinner in six months, and you can’t build a foundation with someone when you don’t even know them because you run away every time they try and talk to you. Trust me, I know!

I honestly wanted to root for Pike so much because it’s very rare to see a Native American playing a love interest even in straight movies. And as a Native American myself, I wanted to—and to some degree, I did—relate to Pike. His shyness I understand on a spiritual level, but the problem is Henry is such an extrovert that I don’t see their relationship going very far. They just felt ill-suited to me.

On top of that you have Dean, who is supposedly straight, but kisses Henry, only to change his mind then change it back. Confusing, I know. I say supposedly because I had a really hard time buying that Dean was straight after their interactions. I mean a straight guy who isn’t in love with his best friend doesn’t have a breakdown when he sees said bff talking to another guy through a window. I don’t know how to describe it, but something was very off about how Dean and Henry’s relationship fizzled out.

I didn’t buy it, and I didn’t buy Henry and Pike, which is probably why I didn’t buy the ending. Ugh, I wanted to love this movie. It has stellar reviews, and overall it’s not unpleasant. It just didn’t go the way I think it should’ve, and Henry and Pike needed more than one brief conversation before they somehow fell madly in love.

But maybe that’s just me.

Other than that, the supporting characters were great. Dean’s two sons were adorable, the town had married lesbians, and quite a few gay men, and Widow Thayer was hysterical. She tried to set Henry up with women, but when she found out he was gay, she tried the whole thing over with a room full of men. Bless her heart.

This also gets a big plus because it’s the first movie I’ve watched that doesn’t contain any homophobia. I was worried about that with the whole small town vibe, but this town and it’s people were so loving and supportive. I wish every queer person could grow up surrounded by people like that. Honestly, it’s worth a watch for that alone.

I do recommend giving this a go, despite my weird dissatisfaction with it. And I might even watch it again. Maybe.

 4 stars, 7/10 would recommend

Do you have a favorite queer movie with a happy ending or one you’d like me to review? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.