Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Click Here for More Articles on THE BOYS IN THE BAND

Review Roundup: THE BOYS IN THE BAND on Netflix


See what the critics are saying!

Review Roundup: THE BOYS IN THE BAND on Netflix

The Boys in the Band is coming! On September 30, Netflix will release a new film adaptation of the play by Matt Crowley.

Reprising their roles from the 2018 Broadway production are Matt Bomer (White Collar), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Zachary Quinto (Heroes), Andrew Rannells (Girls), Charlie Carver (Teen Wolf), Brian Hutchison (Madam Secretary), Michael Benjamin Washington (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Robin de Jesús (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), and Tuc Watkins (Desperate Housewives) will all reprise their roles from the 2018 Broadway production for the Netflix film.

Mart Crowley's groundbreaking 1968 play, The Boys in the Band, centers on a group of gay men who gather in a NYC apartment for a friend's birthday party. After the drinks are poured and the music turned up, the evening slowly exposes the fault-lines beneath their friendships and the self-inflicted heartache that threatens their solidarity. A true theatrical game-changer, The Boys in the Band helped spark a revolution by putting gay men's lives onstage -- unapologetically and without judgement - in a world that was not yet willing to fully accept them.

The critics have spoken...

Patrick Gomez, The AV Club: It's a disservice to the stellar ensemble that Netflix's Boys insists on expanding the world beyond the PRESSURE COOKER of Michael's one-bedroom apartment.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety: Viewed at home in the age of Covid, "The Boys in the Band" now looks like an ironic valentine of nostalgia to the days when sitting around a tattered New York apartment with friends, even when they have their claws out, feels like one of the most pleasurable things in the world.

Alonso Duralde, The Wrap: "Groundbreaking" is one of the last adjectives one could apply to this ossified remake, which scavenges the surface of William Friedkin's 1970 film version with all the depth of a magazine layout or a theme party. Whether or not you think Crowley's very of-its-moment piece still has something to say to audiences of the 21st century, it's a play that deserves better than this waxwork karaoke.

Nikki Baughn, Empire: With its single setting and theatrical roots, The Boys In The Band is unavoidably stagey, but acclaimed Broadway director Joe Mantello uses that to his advantage. Working with legendary cinematographer Bill Pope (The Matrix, Baby Driver), he keeps framing fluid, the camera moving around the apartment and those within, effectively harnessing the energy - whether the relaxed exuberance of the gang dancing on the balcony, or the simmering jealousy between new couple Larry (Andrew Rannells) and Hank (Tuc Watkins).

Charles McNulty, The Los Angeles Times: Although he sometimes looks as though he's wearing "Boys in the Band" drag, [Andrew] Rannells breathes bickering life into Larry's relationship with Hank (an impeccably natural Tuc Watkins), the math teacher who left his wife for Larry and doesn't understand his partner's compulsive cruising.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: It's hammy and stagey and campy, but The Boys in the Band turns out to have a fiercely watchable soap-operatic intensity, a sustained attack of telenovela craziness, culminating in a full-on anxiety attack from its leading character.

Ryan Lattanzio, IndieWire: Director Joe Mantello, who first revamped the play on Broadway three years ago with an all-star cast of out-gay male actors, brings that exact same troupe, and sensibility, to the not-quite-big-screen with his new film adaptation produced by Ryan Murphy for Netflix. The result is a sophisticated, tart-tongued revival, and a gayed-up "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" that surmounts the challenges faced by stage-to-screen adaptations, specifically the utter confinement to a single space.

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: Whichever way you look at it, this lovingly crafted film - with director Joe Mantello and his marvelous ensemble all reprising their stage roles - has value even as a highly polished museum piece. It's good medicine for contemporary queer audiences to witness the poisonous internal effect of living in an environment of hate and intolerance, now resurgent in an America where screeching far-right conservatism is emboldened and on the rise.

Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail: But viewing Mantello's movie also requires you to constantly remind yourself that Crowley wrote his original play to reflect a very specific time, place and milieu: the lives of gay men in 1960s New York. For contemporary audiences, watching a group of men joyously dance with one another and then, when interrupted by a straight man's unexpected presence, clam up and project an air of secrecy and shame would seem dated. Because it is dated, at least for a generation who grew up on Will & Grace in the midst of an eroding, but nowhere near erased, level of society-wide homophobia.

Watch the film's trailer here:

Related Articles

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

From This Author Sarah Jae Leiber