Hank Perrit’s Airline Miles is an odd, intimate little drama that tells a simple story of loss and redemption.
Richard Ginsburg (Gary Houston) is an agitated older man who’s being screwed out of his lifetime accumulation of frequent flyer miles by a big airline company. He comes to 28 year old hotshot lawyer Brendan Scope (Brandon Thompson) for help.
Their relationship begins professionally but they soon discover their lives are bound by coincidence. Richard’s son Bobby (Jordan Phelps) was Brendan’s former lover.
We then see flashbacks of Brendan and Bobby’s relationship. While Richard professes not to have cared that his son was gay, we learn that Bobby felt tremendous pressure to conform to his father’s ideals. A gifted musician, Bobby becomes a Harvard athlete to please his father.
Bobby leaves school and becomes an abusive drug addict and alcoholic in part because of various pressures he feels, destroying his relationship with Brendan and leading to other dark consequences.
Thompson’s tightly controlled Brendan is a fascinating character. He lives his life in the closet not because he is gay, but because he is a WASP. He’s not ashamed of his sexuality, he’s ashamed of ALL his emotions, regarding them as messy complications that get in the way of being a good lawyer. Bobby angrily accuses him of being just like his own father and we discover that’s true.
Both Richard and Brendan are excessively formal and distant. Their mutual interest in being repressed leads them to realize they have ironically more in common with each other than either did with Bobby, though they both feel love for him.
“Miles” deals with very sad subject matter in a fascinatingly low key way. There are no histrionics here, just a deeply held appreciation for love and for life.