1985 was the year of Nintendo, New Coke, Wrestlemania, and “We Are the World.” It was also the year that Rock Hudson died of AIDS and when the first commercial AIDS blood test became available. It is this year which serves as both the title and setting for Yen Tan’s nostalgic and gorgeously realized new film.
Coming home for Christmas after a three-year absence, Adrian (Cory Michael Smith, Gotham, Carol) struggles to reconcile his current life in New York City with that of his religious, conservative family back in small town Texas. His father (Michael Chiklis, The Shield) is cold and distant, while his mother (Virginia Madsen, Sideways) presses him about meeting up with his childhood girlfriend (Jamie Chung, Once Upon a Time). As Adrian starts reconnecting with his younger brother, sneaking him into Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and buying him R.E.M. tapes, he begins to feel the full weight of the choice before him: to finally be honest with his family about who he is and face the consequences, or to return to New York without revealing his truth.
Featuring standout performances from Smith, Madsen, and Chung and shot on exquisitely-rendered black-and-white 16mm film, writer-director Yen Tan (Pit Stop, Frameline37; Ciao, Frameline34) based this visually striking, moving feature on his 2016 short of the same name, which won a Special Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival and screened at Frameline40.
— ELLIOTT BREEDEN
1985 is a recipient of a Frameline Completion Fund Grant.
- Premiere Status: Bay Area