Based on a true story from the 90's.
Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) is a family man, married, has children, a cop. Honest, sweet and loved by many. He has a happy life with his family, or so he thinks. The only thing that he holds regret for, is not knowing his birth mother. So he sets out to find her, only to have the door slammed in his face. He quits the police force, for the family business. Hiding his homosexual activities from all he knows. Until he has a car accident, and then realized that he can't hide who he is anymore.
Steven Russell is gay.
Starting a new life, in a fresh part of the country and with a young man called Jimmy, Steven starts to live the life of a con man. Finding the gay lifestyle just too expensive to support on just his own wages. He uses his skills to start ripping people off, embezzling money from his company. Credit card fraud. You name it, he does it. Whatever it takes to support the kind of life he knows that he deserves. Anything he thinks he needs to, just to make Jimmy happier. In the end, he gets discovered and goes on the run, jumping off a garage roof trying to escape.
Caught Steven goes to jail and meets a young man that changes everything for him. Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor), they are in different wings so they can't be together. Or can they? A few trades and bribes and they become cell mates. Falling deeply in love. Steven does everything he can, even in prison, to try and get Phillip the best of everything. Amazing how quickly he gains control of the situation there!
When Steven gets out, he decides to pose as Phillip's lawyer to get him out as well. So they can start a new life together. The temptations are too much for Steven once they are living together. Falling back into his old ways, to keep his new boyfriend happy. New cars, lavish house, nice clothes.
Yet again, Steven is caught and sent to jail. Phillip Morris is under investigation to see if he had any part in his lover's crimes. Steven sets out in more and more crazy endeavors to try to escape and be with the man he loves. Including an incredible con that you wouldn't believe he could pull off!
This was the very first LGBTQ friendly film I watched. I saw the trailers for it back in 2009, thinking how unusual is it to have a gay relationship in the forefront of a production. Fascinated I just had to see what it was all about. I loved the twists and turns, the deep love story behind it all. I remember the gasps around me when the 'last big con' was revealed to be 'a con'. I'm really trying to not ruin the end of the film here guys!!! No one got what was going to happen there!
Through it all, it is the chemistry between Ewan and Jim that keep this stunning love story going. The real honest human emotions, the desperation to just be together. The scene where Ewan breaks down in tears is just heartbreaking. I truly believe no other two actors could have pulled this off as well as they did.
Put it on your list for Pride fest viewing this summer.
8.5/10 stars (only because it does date slightly since release)
Sarah Beth James