If I were to find my Great Dark Man, he would not love someone like me.The Great Dark Man is the Real Man. And by his definition, the Real Man would never fall in love with someone of his own sex. So said Quisp.
And if he were to love someone like me, then he could not be my Great Dark Man.
I think this is called aporia, or in plain English, a dead end.
An Englishman in New York dramatizes The Naked Civil Servant's last years, in America. Much of it unfolded around the newborn plague of AIDS. I like to forget what a horror that was, the hospital rooms, the funerals. The film made clear his missteps about reading the epidemic, dismissing it as "a fad" and suffering the rejection of the subculture that had come to lionize him.
I found myself watching John Hurt's portrayal of Quisp as if I were listening to a patient. That made him less offputting. In the film, his combination of exhausted solipsistic nihilism and witty patter, by themselves very quickly wearing, were made bearable by his inconsistency, which showed itself in kindness. (I have been told that inconsistency is also what makes me bearable.) And if he was brave, it was the courage of those who have no hope.
I was surprised, though, by how much I was taken with and moved by the character of Patrick Angus, the doomed young painter who'd already given up hope of being loved.
Perhaps it was the actor, Jonathan Tucker*, I was taken with...
There were the usual predictable political assumptions, but the film was also very unromantic about the flaws of the newly-born gay culture. Liberation brought neither virtue nor happiness.
*2015, update. Mr Tucker played a 180 degree opposite character very convincingly in the final season of Justified: a completely sociopathic and sadistic hired gun for the Bad Guy. Scary and crazy and nasty.