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The Lost Language of Cranes

29 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(May 29, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Lost Language of Cranes, The (DVD)

A young man's revelation of his homosexuality exposes a foundation of hidden secrets and repressed passions that threatens to destroy his family.


Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Brian Cox, Eileen Atkins, Angus Macfayden, Corey Parker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2007
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NJXG7C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,373 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Lost Language of Cranes" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By D. Movahedpour on October 11, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This film is based on David Leavitt's book of the same name, which takes place entirely in New York City. When the film version was made, with Leavitt's blessing, the scene is switched entirely to London. However, the core lesson of the film, about deep-seeded family secrets and how they erode the facade of a middle class family, stays in tact.
Brian Cox and Eileen Atkins, two of Britain's best character actors, are incredibly good as the parents, Owen and Rose Benjamin. Owen is an Academic, and Rose is a Book Editor. The irony of Rose being in a profession where she needs an eye for detail is not lost as it contrasts to her own life. She has somehow managed to overlook that her husband is a closeted homosexual. In their generation, if a man felt or knew he was gay, he married, procreated, and carried on with life in most cases. The Benjamin's marriage could be like most long-term marriages without passion. Rose has had her affairs, mainly for the physical love she is missing from her husband. Owen wants desperately to explore the side of his life he has been repressing, but, so far, spends a good amount of his free time roaming gay cinemas.
Adding to all of this is that their son, Phillip, a handsome book editor, very well-played by Angus MacFayden, is also gay. He is out to his friends, but not to his parents. He is madly in love with an American graphic artist, Elliott, played by Corey Parker. Phillip's belief that he has found the love of his life leads him to finally come out to his parents. But, he has no idea of the can of worms he has opened in the life and marriage of his parents. Rose would have been content to keep secrets indefinitely. However, Owen's son's admission opens the floodgates and propels Owen toward his new life.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I sat on the floor of my suburban home watching this movie,40 years old, tears streaming down my cheeks. I could feel the pain the father in this film felt, the life his son had, that he himself had not lived. It was like a great hole in the middle of my being. This was all it took for me to come bursting out of my closet. My life was finally starting!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By mholesh on April 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This film is a textbook example of how difficult it is to translate a book into a movie. Good as it is, as well cast and acted as it is, the movie still cannot get into the interior of the characters the way that David Leavitt's book does. The change of setting from New York to London works well because the basic issues are universal.
For those people struggling with the issues that this movie presents, it is a godsend. There is no sugar coating of the marital issues that Owen and Rose must face. Eileen Atkins is marvelous in her subtle portrayal of the suppressed rage, resentment, frustration and fear mixed with love that she feels towards Owen. Owen's dilemma is well portrayed and his breakdown and reaction to his son's coming out is perfectly on target. One wishes that the episode of the botched phone call were better filled in. In the book it represents a cry for help and an almost blind reaching out that is thwarted by the reality of indifference and mocking irony of the target of a prank. The movie glosses over and changes the situation making the impact much less.
The movie was produced for television by the BBC and WNET and the scale is right for the small screen. The only jarring and inexplicable note are the interludes of the disturbed child and the crane. This is taken directly from the book and is equally jarring in that setting. The author is making a metaphoric point but it eludes me.
That said, definitely see the movie but if you can, please read the book as well. You will find it enlightening, moving, and perhaps life-changing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Halkin on July 1, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The film offers two metaphors for the suppression of expression - young twins, who have never been taught an established language, and hence create one of their own; and a neglected child, who's only company is the view it has of a building site with several large cranes from the window: the child begins to imitate the cranes' movements and noises in an attempt to communicate with them. No fear - the symbolism is kept to a minimum.
At the film's core, are three people, all of whom have been suppressing their real feelings ( their real selves) from the others for fear of change - for fear of disrupting the balance of their existence. This lack of expressing themselves in language, causes them to create their own "language of cranes".
They're terrified that the truth will rip apart the world as they know it, which it does. The viewer is left with their loose ends, wondering if honesty really was the best. Everything they feared about honesty comes to pass. The family is torn apart without a way back. The mother is left feeling like the punch line of a bad joke and the father will be left with 30 years of remorse and guilt. But they're free. They're alive and free - and they still have time to take advantage of their second chance at life.
There are no action scenes here, but this film is more suspenseful than a thriller. If you have ever kept a secret from someone you loved - beware - this film might make you feel very uncomfortable.
Bottom line: a wonderful script, excellent acting and well directed on a small budget. A must see (not just for homosexuals).
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