The Lost Coast (2008) – By Cary Conley

A small group of old high school friends meet up again on Halloween night in San Francisco for an evening of partying.  Mark (Lucas Alifono) and Lily (Lindsay Benner) are roommates and sometime lovers while Jasper (Ian Scott McGregor) used to date Lily and had a handful of homosexual experiments with Mark.  Jasper is now straight and has a girlfriend with whom he is madly in love.  Mark has made an unspoken decision that he is gay and he and Lily are nearing the end of their relationship.

As jasper meets the duo at their apartment, it is clear that Mark has designs for the evening.  He gives Jasper an extended hug and quick kiss on the cheek only to undress in front of Jasper a few moments later as he changes into his Halloween costume.  As they are walking to the street party, a fourth comrade, Caleb (Chris Yule), a loutish young man with a penchant for “stirring the pot,” meets up with the group.

By all accounts, this evening is a complete disaster.  From crashing one boring party to searching out another supposed party, the friends travel the city streets and parks of San Francisco, exploring the city as they continue to explore the underlying meaning of their relationship.  At one point, Jasper discovers the corpse of a young man in Golden Gate Park, further sobering the already serious tone of the group.  Eventually the four friends end up at the beach, each one confronting and dealing with his or her personal demons.

Writer/director Gabriel Fleming has crafted a haunting character study in only his second feature.  The acting here is restrained but superb.  All four actors play their characters with a perfect balance, but it is Ian Scott McGregor who stands out as the young man humiliated by his past and torn between his love for Mark and for his girlfriend, Wendy.  McGregor shows a range of emotions from nervousness to anger, and finally a resigned sadness to round out a very powerful performance.  Lindsay Benner as Lily also turns in a very quiet and reserved performance as she sadly watches her boyfriend hit on Jasper throughout the night.  Realizing that their romantic relationship cannot continue, she shows a remarkable sensitivity in delicately dealing with a painful breakup for both her and Mark.  Lucas Alifono also does an excellent job in portraying Mark, who is using this night as a last-ditch effort to woo Jasper back to him.  As the night progresses, Alifono exhibits an increasing desperation as he attempts to break through the emotional shield that Jasper has created.

This is a tender yet powerful character-driven drama, with gorgeous northern California scenery, a subdued and haunting score, and a languid but methodical storyline.  It shows an authentic and genuine sensitivity of the subject matter (homosexuality).  Few big-budget Hollywood films are able to create the range of emotion displayed in The Lost Coast.  This is a film that deserves to be seen.  For more information, go to www.breakingglasspictures.com.