Keep the Lights On

Keep the Lights On Image
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Keep the Lights On chronicles an emotionally and sexually charged journey of two men in New York City through love, friendship, and addiction. Documentary filmmaker Erik and closeted lawyer Paul meet through a casual encounter, but soon find a deeper connection and become a couple.Keep the Lights On chronicles an emotionally and sexually charged journey of two men in New York City through love, friendship, and addiction. Documentary filmmaker Erik and closeted lawyer Paul meet through a casual encounter, but soon find a deeper connection and become a couple. Individually and together, they are risk takers—compulsive, and fueled by drugs and sex. In an almost decade-long relationship defined by highs, lows, and dysfunctional patterns, Erik struggles to negotiate his own boundaries and dignity while being true to himself. Director Ira Sachs’s fearlessly personal screenplay is anchored by Lindhardt, who embodies Erik’s isolation and vulnerability with a gentle presence. Harrowing and romantic, visceral and layered, Keep the Lights On is a film that looks at love and all of its manifestations, taking it to dark depths and bringing it back to a place of grace. (Music Box Films) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Sep 6, 2012
    100
    Lindhardt, sweet and childish and achingly vulnerable, gives a stunning performance.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Sep 4, 2012
    90
    Not only does this film gloriously fulfill the potential that Ira Sachs has tantalized movie-lovers with for years, it also help explains what took him so long. Out of lost love comes a terrific work of art; it's the oldest story in the world, but it always feels new when it's done right.
  3. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Sep 8, 2012
    90
    A haunting, immersive portrait of a romance between two men, one that's marked - and marred - by both drug dependency and emotional codependency. Not unlike last year's gay-themed drama, "Weekend," it proves an important and mature piece of business.
  4. 80
    Sachs hits notes we've rarely heard in gay cinema, in which the hedonist bleeds into the humanist, the ephemeral into the enduring.
  5. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Sep 7, 2012
    75
    A tough, well-acted little indie.
  6. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Sep 4, 2012
    70
    Delicately tracing the troubled nine-year bond between two men living in New York, Ira Sachs mines his own memories to sensitive, melancholy if somewhat muted effect in Keep the Lights On.
  7. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Sep 4, 2012
    40
    The two characters are ciphers, and the script, which Sachs co-wrote with Mauricio Zacharias, is by turns underwritten or banal.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Sep 4, 2014
    7
    An often painful and brutally honest look at love and romance. This film proves that gender makes absolutely no difference... love is love--noAn often painful and brutally honest look at love and romance. This film proves that gender makes absolutely no difference... love is love--no matter how tough love is. A fine debut from Thure Lindhardt as Erik. Expand
  2. Nov 10, 2012
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I don't understand why it's 'hip' to remake material we've all seen before with a 'gay' label. If someone has never had experience with addiction, this film might do something. But it skirts its responsibility to delve deeper into the treacherous aspects of bottoming out and recovery - we go from 'just using' to a full-on intervention full of characters we've never met. And then suddenly, "shazam!" they're procaiming their love for each other again.

    I found the lead actor distracting - nothing against a foreign accent, but this brought nothing to the film except some unwanted comic parody. I didn't find either believable, and feel that this is another 'make a gay movie' from an angle that once all gays see the light and adopt the broken, pathetic marriage and relationship system of straights, the world will then be all good, golden and complete.

    Addiction is a serious disease, and far more rampant in the gay demographic than anywhere else. This film doesn't do much to shed new light, despite the title.
    Expand

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