BOULEVARD will always remain a remarkable film despite the fat that it did so poorly in the theaters. Written by Douglas Soesbe and directed with immense subtlety by Dito Montiel, this film is a fitting tribute to one of America's greatest comedians, the star Robert Williams who offers a performance that echoes the lives of many men who elect to lead their lives as gay men in the closet for whatever reason. Williams was 63 years old when he died of apparent suicide following a long struggle with depression and this, his last film, is dedicated to this memory.
Nolan Mack (Robin Williams in a performance so understated that it makes us forget during the film that he was one of the funniest crazies in the comedian arena) is 60, quietly married to an independent Joy Mack (Kathy Baker), quietly working in the same desk in the same back for years, tending his dying father, up for promotion as a bank manager, who turns down a wrong boulevard one evening – a street for hustlers and prostitutes and almost inadvertently picks up a young hustler Leo (Roberto Acquire) and begins a 'relationship' with him, supporting him financially and with attempts to find work for him, but never having a physically consummated act – just being in the hustler's presence is enough. We discover that Nolan is gay and has known since he was twelve but elected to never acted out on it. He has a close friend Winston (an Excellent Bob Odenkirk) with whom he communicates but never admits to anyone except his barely conscious father that he is gay. How he deals with his new discovery of the life for which he has yearned is the manner in which the film plays out – his confession to Joy, the rejection by Leo who has his own interpersonal relationship issues and flaws (a very impressive bit of writing that shows the insecurities of a hustler's mindset), and the trauma that finally exposes his real identity makes for a deeply moving though very quiet story.
The film, in retrospect, seems an homage to the other side of the comedy mask Robin Williams wore. In many ways it is his Ave Atque Vale. Sensitive, subtle, deep, and heart- wrenchingly real, it is a fine yet sad way to say goodbye to Robin Williams.