The tale begins with a young blonde-headed boy (“Frank”) born to a conservative family who just doesn’t seem to understand him. Frank is gay, leaves home and begins the adventure of a lifetime; one that will take him from dancing a carefree life in the clubs to performing at the “House of Boys” and onward through love and loss.
The House of Boys is best described as a gay club doubling as a brothel for those willing to pay for private shows (and favors) by the club’s “working boys.”
“Jake” is, by his own confession, a straight boy working in the club with whom Frank will share a room.
The blonde is smitten with Jake from the first night but Jake’s love of the boy will take longer to build.
As the movie unfolds, the seedier side of the club is made more evident as Frank observes Jake being led to the back room for a private show with a well-to-do designer from America who flies in once a month to spend time with the object of Frank’s affections. Angry and hurt, the young blonde bursts out of the house to spend a bit of time alone in the rain — but it’s now becoming a bit more obvious that Jake does have some feelings for Frank.
Even so, the two do not bond as a couple until, during a night out to watch a concern with two other friends, Frank passes out and Jake brings him back home to care for and watch over. That night, their love for one another takes on a whole new chapter as young Jake begins to accept that he has feelings for his roommate and admirer, Jake “making love” to the young blonde for the first time.
But this tale takes on a twist that I’d not foreseen coming.
During one of the evenings performances, a customer known as “snow” (a nickname given him for the drugs that he always has on hand, often used to barter for a bit of private time with the dancers) requests an audience with Frank. “Madam” (the club’s proprietor) gives in to Jake’s request that he be a part of the show in the back room with Frank that evening and the pair begin to dance for Snow. All’s well until Jake passes out and falls into a glass table, after Frank accompanies him to the hospital and the REAL LESSON of this movie begins to take on form.
As it turns out, the wealth American designer has infected Jake with the HIV virus and the disease has progressed to full-blown AIDS; Jake’s T-cell count is practically nonexistent as the doctors begin to test and prod, trying to save his life.
Kaposi’s sarcoma is eating the young man alive, appearing as lesions all over his body but in the eyes of young Frank, he is still the “beautiful Jake” that he first fell in love with. Frank stays by his side, through to the end.
I’d like to tell you that this was a movie with a fairy-tale ending of happy ever after. It isn’t but it’s most assuredly the tale of two young men who fall in love and see things through to the very end. It’s what love is truly all about; for better or worse.
Eventually, Frank and a young gal friend will take a trip to Morocco, a destination Jake had always wanted to see, to spread Jake’s ashes along the edge of the sea. Immediately after, a young man is heard off in the distance playing the guitar and singing, reminiscent of a Jake during happier and healthier times.
Only those with a stone-cold heart will fail to cry during the ending of this movie.
As the credits begin to build, some detailed information regarding the number of deaths (5000) during the first years of the AIDS crisis is shown on the screen. Twenty-five million would die from AIDS-related complications during the first 25 years with another two-million dying every year thereafter.
There have been more than 35-million deaths from the disease to date and another 2.5 million are newly diagnosed with HIV every year.
The fight is far from over.