screen-2-03The USA Film Festival got off to a strong, gay start Wednesday with the AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague, but its short-film showcase on Friday has just as much queer appeal. In addition to Queen (reviewed last week), is the unexpected drama The Carrier.

Rita Wilson plays the starchy mother of her prodigal son Thatcher. When Thatcher is suddenly killed, mom is compelled to tie up some loose ends — including having to tell the many women he’s slept with that Thatcher was HIV-positive.

Similar to the classic melodrama A Letter to Three Wives, The Carrier explores the mother’s feelings as the reactions of her son’s lovers reflect her own, complex emotions: One (Anna Paquin) is cruel, selfish and angry; one shows smug self-satisfaction; another, sadness. And another … It’s a surprising and delicate movie with a great turn by Wilson.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Plays at the Angelika Film Center April 28 at 7 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 27, 2012.