I wish I could say I'm all better, but I'm not. I spent most of the last week curled up on the couch with no energy and a cough that wouldn't quit. While I'm still pushing myself back to health, the one bright side was that I got to watch a lot of movies and TV.
One of those movies was the documentary, Before You Know It. It follows three senior citizens, all of whom happen to be gay. There's Dennis, a widowed crossdresser who wanders from his home in Florida to a retirement community in Oregon to a gay cruise in search of companionship. There's Robert, an aging drag queen who owns a bar in Texas and is surrounded by friends. There's Ty, a gay rights activist in NYC who seems the most well-adjusted of the three. There is no judgment or even intense scrutiny here. The filmmaker seems content in capturing these men as they truly are, though a distinct melancholy permeates the entire film.
The men couldn't be any more different, and yet, in a lot of ways, their stories are universal. Dennis represents the loneliness that plagues so many senior citizens. All he wants is company, and though he's treated politely by the younger generations, he spends most of the movie a single satellite roving around the world. Robert seems to be happy, with raucous friends who would do anything for him, and yet his health is failing and he suffers from depression as he mourns his dead partner. These are issues that plague many of our older generation. They're not unique to these men just because they're gay. It doesn't take away from how affecting it can be, but at the same time, I couldn't shake the feeling that there were some real missed opportunities. I liked the documentary, but I didn't love it.
But you be the judge. It's streaming on Netflix right now.