Alan Cumming Grapples With Survivor’s Guilt “After Louie”

Written by | Entertainment, HIV, Screen

sam at the beach

In After Louie, Alan Cumming plays a man haunted by the past and dismayed by the future. But might he still find hope?

Survivor’s guilt occurs when a person believes he has done something wrong by outliving a traumatic event when another has not. To the survivor, his existence seems unfair and unjustified; he wonders whether he could have done more to save another.

This concept is threaded throughout After Louie (now on iTunes and On Demand channels), the directorial debut by Vincent Gagliostro, which tells the story of a middle-aged artist, Sam, struggling with both the loss of a friend to AIDS and the general waning of AIDS activism.

Also central to the story is the generational divide that separates Sam (Alan Cumming) from a newfound romance with 20-something Brooklynite Braeden (played by Zachary Booth). It’s a conflict that — from the outset — appears ripe for a contentious denouement.

“We were really getting somewhere, and nowadays, your generation, you don’t do anything,” Sam complains at one point. “The community is dead — literally as well as figuratively.”

As the two navigate their budding relationship, that tension remains more of a smoldering undercurrent that flickers but never fully combusts. Instead, the film focuses studiously on Sam’s attempt to bear up while in anguish and pain.

Last modified: October 2, 2019