A curious, melancholic character study, “Boulevard” has the sexually repressed Nolan (Robin Williams, in his last starring role) coming to terms with his same-sex desires at age 60.
Coping with a dying father, up for a promotion at work and deceiving his wife (Kathy Baker), Nolan sabotages his carefully maintained life when he develops an obsession with Leo (Roberto Aguire), a street hustler. Paying the youth for talk, not sex — something that befuddles Leo — Nolan finds meaning in his life for what may be the first time. But “Boulevard” feels stagy, not meaningful, as Nolan makes a series of increasingly bad decisions that erode any sympathy for him. Leo’s big issue, which Nolan is oblivious to, will be obvious to viewers.
The contrived script is as dull and transparent as Nolan. Williams tries nobly to make his milquetoast character come to life, and he does well with a coming-out speech. If Aguire barely registers in the pivotal role of Leo, Baker steals the film, especially in her big dramatic moment near the film’s end. “Boulevard” certainly holds some interest, and the film creates an appropriately somber mood, but this modest drama could have been deeper, richer and better.
“Boulevard” opens July 17 at Ritz Theaters.