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Poet Brian (Brian Sheppard) goes on a dark journey of the soul in Joseph Graham’s BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING

BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING (Joseph Graham, 2016)
Cinema Village
22 East 12th St. between University Pl. & Fifth Ave.
Opens Friday, May 6

“Girls ruin everything,” Bob (John Lescault) tells Jim (Zack Ryan) in Joseph Graham’s Beautiful Something, the follow-up to his 2010 film, Strapped. During one long dark night of the soul, several gay men cruise the streets of Philadelphia, looking for love in all the wrong places as their stories intertwine. Poet Brian (Brian Sheppard) seeks out onetime lover Dan (Grant Lancaster), who was the inspiration for his book of poetry, titled Strapped, only to find out he has gone straight. Jim (Zack Ryan) is growing bored with being famous sculptor Drew’s (Colman Domingo) muse and wants something more. The married Chris (David Melissaratos) goes to a gay bar for the first time, unable to resist his urges. Big-time talent agent Bob (John Lescault) trolls the neighborhood in his white stretch limo, searching for very specific accompaniment. And Sergio (Matthew Rios) rides around on his bike, attempting to score in more ways than one. Despite some tender, heartfelt moments, Beautiful Something, which is based on actual events, doesn’t quite hits its mark, as underdeveloped characters keep doing self-destructive things in an unspecified time. Graham wants to invite us into these intimate situations, but we’re kept at a frustrating distance as the individual tales go just slightly awry. Cinematographer Matthew Boyd, who also shot Strapped, gives Beautiful Something a sharp look, but the characters’ aimlessness grows tiresome, even if that is part of the point.

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