The Boys in the Band

A film featuring eight gay characters, portrayed by actors who are members of the LGBT+ community, seems unheard of, even as progressive narratives become more prominent in Hollywood today. “The Boys in the Band” originally premiered in 1968 as a play, and was adapted into a film in 1970. On Wednesday, Sept. 30, Netflix released a new adaptation of the beloved play. The film surprised many by addressing topical issues that the LGBT+ community faced in the late 1960s.

It had a successful run as a play and was then made into a movie that had earned only $3.5 million in the box office. However, that didn’t stop Netflix from adapting the film for modern audiences.

The film, set up to be a hit, has not garnered the attention that it deserves. With an all-star cast and notable producer, Ryan Murphy, you would think that it would make Netflix’s “Top 10 in the U.S. Today”. However, “The Boys in the Band” is not on the list, being surpassed by films such as “Enola Holmes” and “American Murder: The Family Next Door”.

On Netflix’s YouTube account, there are a few trailers and promotional videos of the cast and crew. This is nothing compared to the amount of advertising for other films that Netflix has released this past week.

The amount of dedication and work that went into this film is astounding. Cinematography has come a long way since 1970, and Murphy has used that to his advantage, creating scenes that would have been impossible to produce fifty years ago. There are scenes that normalize gay relationships, scenes that add more depth to the otherwise one-dimensional characters and scenes that combine dialogue with new visuals.

One of the most defining aspects of “The Boys in the Band” is its faithfulness to the original play and film. All three adaptations rely on dialogue rather than multiple sets. This film focuses on character development, and on the dynamic between different characters. Acts one and two don’t have the dramatic shots that viewers may see in a less faithful adaptation. The scenes that are added play in the last thirty minutes of the film and are very brief.

The film does have some controversial scenes. Derogatory terms for homosexuals are used throughout the film, and there is also a fight scene that might be triggering to some viewers. What would most likely be the most controversial of scenes are those that depict gay sex.

If you are a fan of the play or 1970 film, you will enjoy this adaptation. It has stayed true to what made the story popular and topical. Although it is set in 1968, it still feels relevant to the LGBT+ community today.