HALSTON collection disappoints
I’ve been so enjoying the new episodes of POSE, Brian Murphy’s revelatory look at the drag worlds of those last several decades in New York. The current season has had a clarity and emotional punch which has been greatly appreciated as last year‘s season was kind of a mess. I was hoping that Murphy could bring the same emotion and same power to the story of the great gay designer HALSTON.
However, other than the first 15 minutes of the first episode, the storytelling never really amps over the problem of the central character being a pain in the ass as he who treats everyone badly,and never learns his lesson, Thus we don’t care about it his fate. It has nothing to do with Ewan McGregor‘s performance in the title role as much as it has to do with the the way in which the material is treated, despite a huge team of writing and directing talent.
There is no joy in the storytelling, as Halston goes from rural Indiana to New York superstar. Even the scenes in the studio 54 which Halston helped - along with celebrities like Liza Minnelli - made famous have no exciting sexuality or anything we haven’t seen already on screen. Murphy has generally been terrific at finding the heart of complex stories, but I don’t think he is successful here.
By the time you are in episode three of the five episode series, there’s no one to cheer for. Halston seems to deserve what he gets s he sells out his own name and product to keep his business alive. But in this telling all the money is going to his passion for an overabundance of orchids and cocaine. The scenes where various business people try to talk sense into Halston are not very well presented, and we turn off from them in the same way that he did.
McGregor‘s performance is fine, but not riveting or revelatory. Supporting players are a mixed batch, with bland disappointments from Krysta Rodriguez as Liza, Bill Pullman as his business nemesis, and Gian Franco Rodriguez as his well endowed love interest Victor Hugo. None of them got a chance to shine.
Ryan Murphy has been a great hero to gay storytelling over the last decade, and his work will continue to pull in the audiences everywhere for important stories that should be told. It is great to tackle as many stories as you can tell in the time you have left. Surely that is a lesson from POSE and GLEE and so many other great Brian Murphy creations.
All you need to know is in the trailer.
Halston is a Netflix production.