When 19-year-old gay-rights activist Tommy and 24-year-old Alan first meet in 1973, they find themselves on the opposite sides of the political coin. Despite their many differences, they form a loving long-term relationship. In 1977, during Anita Bryant's crusade, an anti-gay book Alan wrote years before gets published without his consent. The book destroys Tommy's credibility as a well-known activist, resulting in Tommy and Alan's break-up. Seven years later, Alan is given a second chance, a reunion with Tommy and the opportunity to set things right.
Miles Swan's romantic comedy The Trip spans 11 years, charting the lives of two men through the Gay Rights movement of the '70s, the conservative backlash of the Reagan-era, and through the AIDS epidemic. Straight, Young Republican author Alan (played by Larry Sullivan) meets Tommy (Steve Braun), a Gay Rights activist, while Alan is completing his anti-gay book. Falling in love with Tommy, Alan tries to avoid publishing "The Straight Truth," but an alleged friend of Alan's underhandedly sabotages him by not only publishing it but also securing for it a place on the bestseller list. As a converted gay man, this enrages Alan and also ruins Tommy's credit as an activist, thereby breaking them up for several years during the '80s. Finally, the two do reunite to pledge their eternal love, though under tragic circumstances. Relevant gay rights news footage, from Stonewall for example, historically sets each segment in the film, making the movie more realistic and educational. Alan and Tommy's plight to fight for the acceptance of homosexuality takes on metaphorical significance, while other characters in the film, like Tommy's best friend, Michael (Alexis Arquette), and Alan's mother (Jill St. John), bring the narrative humor specific to The Trip back into focus. At times, the movie verges on corny, but for the most part avoids cliché. The satisfaction one gets from watching a deep relationship unfold over the years makes this coming-of-age tale a meaningful reminder that there is absolutely no justification for keeping any couples in love apart. --Trinie Dalton