Timothy Conigrave’s tumultuous 16-year relationship with John Caleo is a highly personal story that became known to millions as a result of Conigrave’s bestselling memoir, Holding the Man. Detailing the high-school crush that led to a longstanding bond, only broken by Caleo’s death from AIDS in 1992, the book became a classic of gay literature and an acclaimed feature film. Now their true story is retold in this revealing documentary, crafted from unprecedented access to archive material and the testimonies of family and friends.
With its focus on issues of temptation, infidelity and the emergence of HIV, Conigrave and Caleo’s story that evokes the arc of late-20th-century gay culture in heartbreakingly familiar terms. But Nickolas Bird and Eleanor Sharpe’s gritty and poignant documentary is a fitting tribute to the couple whose frank intimacy touched millions.