Like many young gay men before him, small-town Virginian Anthony, played by Raphael Barker from John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus (2006), arrives in San Francisco wide-eyed and eager to drink up his new surroundings. But the cozy bubble of nights spent writing poetry in coffee shops and playing house with Stephen, the career-minded older boy friend he barely knows, soon bursts when Stephen’s frequent outbursts of anger turn abusive.
Having moved into an apartment with a casual acquaintance, Anthony spends his days disinterestedly shoveling popcorn at a local movie theater, while at night he wanders the city’s streets, finding momentary solace in the beds of strangers and in the torch songs of a corner chanteuse (singer Veronica Klaus, in a lovely cameo).
Enter puckish cutie Gavin, a barely legal runaway and hustler who alternately acts as guide, enabler and watchdog to Anthony. But the cheap thrills of conning would-be tricks, cruising strangers and scamming free pizza soon wear off, and Anthony and Gavin must reconcile their longing for stability — something both associate with the damaged homes they fled — with their strong devotion to each other.
Shuttling forward and backward across time, local writer/director Scott Boswell’s debut feature is a bold, sympathetic portrait of the struggles, pleasures and perils of losing and regaining oneself in the concrete jungle. –Frameline