“Armistead,” describes longtime friend Sir Ian McKellen, “loves the world but does find it hilariously funny.” McKellen is just one of many famed artists recruited to help tell the tale of author Armistead Maupin in Jennifer Kroot’s vibrant and frank documentary. While readers and viewers around the world have fallen in love with the outlandish characters in Maupin’s Tales of the City, such as the enigmatic pot-smoking trans landlady Mrs. Madriga, few know about the complicated and contradictory life of the man behind the books.
This lyrical and poetic coming-of-age film is about a young gay man on the cusp of adulthood. After a party-turned-rave that destroys his home, 17-year-old sexually insecure Miku is doomed to spend the rest of the summer at the family cottage, where both his parents avoid dealing with their own budding relationship crisis. But the calm of the Finnish countryside takes an interesting turn when Miku meets Elias, a confident young man with whom he strikes up an intense friendship. The two have little in common except their dysfunctional families, but they are drawn to each other.