Silverlake Life: The View from Here
Directed by Peter Friedman and Tom Joslin
"Silverlake Life" is more important a document than ever before in America's current fight for gay marriage. When you pull back the curtains and glimpse the genuine feelings of a homosexual couple, it adds lifetimes to the current conversation.
Here is a largely homemade production that covers the final months of an over twenty-year romance between Tom Joslin and Mark Massi. We learn that Tom has died from AIDS at the beginning, but he becomes the major character for the rest of the film as we peruse through countless tapes to learn his story. Tom is survived by a former film student of his, Peter Friedman, who finishes Tom’s work: this documentary.
On the surface, Tom and Mark’s romance is as faithful and tender as many a heterosexual couple I have seen. They have documented several random (thus, real) moments where their adoration for each other are clear. When Mark learns he is HIV positive Tom mourns with him and soon suffers with him as he contracts the deadly disease himself. Tom’s health declines much faster than Mark’s and his body takes the terrible toll. It is devastating look at this particular ailment, but gives Mark an opportunity to truly show how much he cares for his partner.
They may have barred the two from getting married, but they cannot prohibit their love. As the subtitle suggests, this is a film that gives many of us a look at life from a different perspective. Homosexuality is a complicated issue that many of us are seeking to understand. Seeing stories such as Tom and Mark’s can prove enlightening. There is so much to learn about a person before their orientation needs to be discussed (if at all). Early in the film we see footage from a Christmas morning spent with one of their families. It is no different than what we’d typically expect. Before anyone denounces gay rights they should hear from those whose rights they are potentially limiting. They deserve to speak and deserve to be heard.
CONTENT: mature conversations and topics, brief language, some disturbing images, brief nudity