As people grow up, ideas are suggested to them from various sources to help craft their life in a certain way. However with The Miseducation of Cameron Post, co-writer/director Desiree Akhavan makes an argument about the search for personal individuality which is not only liberating, but absolutely valid. Adapting Emily M. Danforth’s novel of the same name, Akhavan shows audiences that no matter what customs or beliefs are enforced onto another person, their voice and personality…
If you have ever read Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet or have seen the 1995 documentary based on the book, you would know quite well that Hollywood was full of closeted queer individuals working as actors, directors, producers and everything else; trying their hardest to live their truest lives, while also keeping the truth hidden. Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood tells another side of that story.
Yorkshire farmer Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) has a rough exterior that could be intimidating to others. He’s certainly aware of this power as he reflects his standoff attitude to anyone who criticizes him. But, Johnny is also a closeted gay man, distancing himself with personal conflict and confrontations. He acts on sexual desires with casual flings, but his romantic interests remain indifferent. That is, until he meets a migrant worker named Gheorghe (Alex Secareanu).
Beach Rats is a good coming-of-age movie from a gay perspective, but its middle portions are the most compelling. It’s bookended by familiar emotions and the finish line is the type of gut-wrenching finale audiences expect from a sombre story like this one, but writer/director Eliza Hittman takes an interesting route to get there.
The ReelHeART International Film & Screenplay Festival is currently underway until Saturday, July 8 featuring events all over the city of Toronto. I’ve seen two of this year’s selected documentaries and while these films belong in separate categories, both have a comparable criticism.
Charlie, a queer millennial in New York, is looking for love. His modest expectations are reasonable, yet the mission proves to be a constant bust throughout the course of Prom King, 2010. Charlie chats with friends, family, and other acquaintances within his community (mostly for catharsis or assistance), but these conversations lead to opinions – sometimes closed-minded views – about love, Charlie’s sexual orientation, and dating etiquette.
The David Dance is a stage-to-film adaptation from actor/screenwriter Don Scimé. I haven’t seen his original stage play, but I can figure out a couple of things from the movie: Scimé is a passionate artist who cares very deeply about the themes acknowledged in his work, but not enough compromises have been made by director Aprill Winney to make his original material fill feature film britches.
Closet Monster is not only another case of a filmmaker who has taken the leap to long-form filmmaking after establishing themselves with short films, but it’s also a satisfying example of a storyteller succeeding under new guidelines.
There are different ways for a writer to tell a story while tapping into their own personal catharsis. Chris Kelly (co-writer of Saturday Night Live and Broad City making his feature filmmaking debut) has found a vessel in Other People to tell his own semi-autobiographical story by re-capturing snapshots of his ailing mother’s final months.
What an Idiot brings me déjà vu. Or, to keep in touch with the film’s awful sense of humour, gayjà vu.