Screen Gems

You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Patrick Stewart as a bitchy ole queen

Jeffrey 

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Bitchy (in a good way): Jeffrey

So much has changed for queer people in just a few short years that we have a hard time remembering things weren’t always this great. For proof, look no further than the delightful romantic comedy Jeffrey from 1995. Penned by Paul Rudnick–a gay man known for his wicked humor–the film looks at dating in the age of AIDS.

That premise sounds far more depressing than it is. Steven Weber plays the title role, a man who has become terrified of sex and intimacy during the AIDS epidemic. For Jeffrey, the risk of HIV infection doesn’t scare him; falling in love with someone with the disease does. Naturally, then, things get complicated when he meets the hunky Steve (Michael T. Weiss), an HIV+ man for whom Jeffrey has an undeniable attraction.

We repeat: the premise sounds far more depressing than it is. Jeffrey benefits from the same searing humor that made Rudnick such a success with movies like The Addams Family and In & Out. Much of the levity also comes from Patrick Stewart as Jeffrey’s bitchy friend Sterling, who hems and haws over everything from sex to china patterns. It’s one of the actor’s best performances. With a supporting cast that includes Olympia Dukakis, Victor GarberNathan Lane, Camryn Manheim, Kathy Najimy, Sigourney Weaver and Christine Baranski, Jeffrey remains a chronicle of a bygone time, and something of a forgotten queer classic.

Streams on Amazon, VUDU and iTunes.