LGBT Info

Big Eden is a 2000 romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Thomas Bezucha. Arye Gross stars as Henry Hart, a successful gay artist from New York City who returns to his rural hometown in Montana to care for his ailing grandfather. Henry is welcomed back by the townsfolk, all of whom are aware of his sexuality and are highly accepting and even supportive towards him (the film's plot and dialogue is notably devoid of homophobic content). However, during the months he stays in the town, Henry is forced to confront his unresolved feelings for his high school friend Dean Stewart, while simultaneously being oblivious to the feelings of Pike Dexter (Eric Schweig), the shy Native American owner of the town's general store.

The film won awards from several gay and lesbian film festivals, and was nominated for best limited release film at the GLAAD Media Awards in 2002. Except for the opening sequence, the motion picture was entirely shot in Montana.\


Plot

In June 2000, Henry Hart, a gay man, successful artist living in New York, receives a call from his old friend Grace Cornwell, a kindergarten teacher in his hometown, who tells him that his grandfather Sam suffered a stroke. Although his assistant, Mary Bishop, wants him to stay, Henry feels himself bound to visit and help his ailing grandfather. He jumps on the next plane to his hometown, Big Eden, Montana, giving up his new home and career. Stranded in his place of birth Henry is confronted by the changes of time. Though Sam is becoming better, Henry has the feeling that he should stay with his helpless grandfather because he himself fears becoming an orphan. While accompanying Sam to church every Sunday he involuntarily becomes part of the town life and gossip again. The town-folks somehow always knew about his sexuality, but never mentioned it publicly. Further complicating the situation is the presence of his former high-school crush Dean Stewart, who moved back in town a week earlier. Dean has just split up from his wife and has returned to Big Eden with his kids Ben and Andrew. This leaves Henry trying to work out his unresolved feelings for Dean.

Grace set up a support system for both Henry and Sam. Included is widow Thayer and Pike Dexter, a very shy Native American. Pike is the town's general-store owner, and the Widow Thayer is center of gossip and society in Big Eden. She attempts several times to hook up Henry with different people, first women, but after a few "social gatherings“ she realizes her error, and invites men instead. While all this is going on the Widow Thayer cooks for grandfather and grandson daily, and Pike takes it over to their house and helps by setting the table. After a few weeks Pike realizes that the food is inappropriate, and learns how to cook healthy dishes. He keeps this secret, telling neither the Harts nor Thayer, exchanging Thayer's dinner with his own delicious meals. He also orders the special supplies Henry needs so he can continue painting up in Big Eden. Pike, who wants "things to be nice for Henry", has obviously fallen in love with him too.

Meanwhile, Dean is around Henry a lot, helping him build a ramp for Sam's wheelchair, and taking Henry dancing and to the mountains. With all of his efforts, he tries to show Henry his affection and feelings, but Dean eventually tells Henry that he couldn't live together with him.

Time passes and Sam becomes worse. One night, Henry arrives at home and finds Pike there, looking forlorn. Pike lets Henry know that Sam has died. The town falls into mourning at Sam's death. He built every house in town, and was closely connected to each and every one. Though Dean comforts Henry, Pike does the opposite by secluding himself. A funeral is held for Sam, where everyone shows up except for Pike.

Henry, now completely alone, realizes that Pike meant something to him. Pike had shared a "promised dinner together" with him one night where he fascinated Henry by his knowledge of stars and mystical stories. That upsets Henry even more because he thought Sam meant something to Pike too. They both don't talk to each other until the day Henry is leaving for New York. In the very last minute Pike accepts his love for Henry and tries to catch him at the airport, but he is too late. On his way home, Pike sees Sam's truck in front of his store, not expecting Henry to be waiting for him. The two men become a happy couple.