Film Review: “Keep the Lights On,” hauntingly real and emotional



By Anna Peirano

Keep the Lights On is a film directed by Ira Sachs, and is based on the writer/director’s own life. The film beautifully portrays the story of two men in New York City exploring existence through love, friendship, and addiction. The film has already won multiple awards, including Winner of the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival, and Outstanding U.S. Dramatic Feature at Outfest. (Trailer below).

The arc follows a documentary filmmaker named Erik (played by Dutch actor Thure Lindhardt in his first leading U.S. role) and a closeted lawyer named Paul (played by Zachary Booth, Damages) over the course of a decade. The two meet via a casual encounter which quickly developers into a deeper connection. 

The movie’s official description explains the pair are “risk takers – compulsive, and fueled by drugs and sex.” The movie, “is a film that looks at love and all of its manifestations, taking it to dark depths and bringing it back to a place of grace.”

Critics have called the film “beautiful” “heartbreaking” “stunning” and “totally engrossing.” Dan Heching of Next Magazine wrote, “Forget Brokeback Mountain; Keep the Lights On is the grittiest and most heartbreaking gay love story of our times.”

Throughout the film, intense sexuality is balanced with a heartbreaking vulnerability as Erik and Paul work through the issues they face. The two actors play their roles brilliantly, drawing the audience in while easily demanding that those watching care about who these characters are and what happens to them.

For a list of upcoming theater showings, click here

And to find out more about the movie, visit the official site at 


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