Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Movie review: A Wonderful Life.

Writer/director Jeff London returns with a friends-to-lovers story involving two middle-aged men. Written with James Handshoe, A Wonderful Life is a holiday movie that spans Halloween through Christmas.

Bailey (David E. McMahon) spends much of his time caring for his mother (Elaine Ballace), who suffers from chronic pain. Losses and changes disrupt Bailey’s life, but a reunion with boyhood friend Greyson (Ben Stobber) complicates that life for the better. Greyson and Bailey share a love for old movies, especially old horror movies, but they obviously have much more in common. Their love story emerges among a great deal of tragedy, but A Wonderful Life avoids a dismal tone by also focusing on humor and supportive friends or family members.

I’ve been enjoying Jeff London’s movies for years. They all focus on gay characters in small-town settings. To mention two of my past favorites, And Then Came to Summer explores the damage caused by conversion therapy, while Regarding Billy celebrates the joy and challenges of having a family member with special needs. Like those films, this one deals with serious topics but maintains an optimistic tone. A Wonderful Life is an emotional addition to Jeff London’s catalog of low-budget, feel-good films.

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