Adrian is a New York transplant in his 20s returning home to Fort Worth, Texas after a three-year absence. Bearing extravagant Christmas gifts to paper over a silence he can’t seem to address, his evangelical Christian family long for more of him even as their unspoken signals shut him down. Adrian, meanwhile, aches with the truths he longs to share about his sexuality, grief and devastating losses.
Director Yen Tan’s quiet period piece about emotional isolation, estrangement and loss, is set against the first wave of the AIDS crisis in Ronald Reagan’s United States. While allowing its characters room to take shape, 1985 evokes the difficulty of coming out in a recent past perhaps distanced, for some, by decades of queer activism and visibility.