A 65-year old man in great conflict makes a life changing decision in the new film ‘Boulevard.’
The late Robin Williams is bank branch manager Nolan Mack. He’s literally just going through life’s motions - working at a bank, with a longtime wife (Kathy Baker) and a very sick father in the hospital. Then one late evening after visiting his father, he drives through a derelict part of town and almost runs over a young man, Leo (Roberto Aguire), who turns out to be a male prostitute. Nolan checks to make sure Leo is fine, then out of the blue, invites him to go to a motel. This chance meeting opens up something inside Nolan who perhaps realized but didn’t accept that he has feelings for other men. While his relationship with Leo becomes more involved and more complicated, Nolan starts giving Leo money and starts acting like a surrogate father. Their relationship is not sexual but it’s intimate. Nolan tries and tries to his hide his encounters with Leo from his wife and his best friend Winston (Bob Odenkirk), but as Nolan becomes more and more involved and emotionally tied to Leo, his wife suspects that something is going on. But eventually Nolan comes to the realization that Leo does not feel the same way about him, but at this point it appears that Leo’s life will never be the same again.
Williams gives a delicate performance as the lonely and subdued Nolan. He’s a man whose conflicted, despondent and depressed until Leo comes into his life. Shot in 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee, Williams would eventually hang himself a year later. This story of a lonely and depressed man is eerily parallel to William’s life. Baker, known mostly for her parts on television, is very good as Nolan’s wife, who knows her 40-year marriage is slipping away and there’s nothing she can do to about it. Aguirre more than holds his own against seasoned veteran Williams, their scenes together are both calm and gentle. Director Dito Montiel (2013’s Empire State) does a great job in getting great performances from his cast, with a good script by Douglas Soesbe. But it’s Williams performance that will stay with you for a long time as it’s one of his last, ever.