Dorian Lagatos has had an epiphany. For the first time in his life he's realised that - he's gay. Not confused. Not going through a phase. But actually gay. Only such an act of self-realisation is the easy part, given being gay is not something to shout about in his social circle. Yet Dorian is desperate to tell someone and with no friends, a homophobic right wing father and a mother more concerned with the weekly shopping than listening to the inner thoughts of her son, Dorian opts for bursting his "I'm gay" bubble in the direction of his younger but more mature bother Nicky, a hetro jock who initially freaks out, before settling down to offer the outstretched arm of fraternal support. Only how many sessions with the local therapist, coupled with some hard knocks in New York, is it going to take before Dorian can finally start living his life, his way?
Written and directed by Tennyson Bardwell, this comical yet equally poignant coming-of-age work hits all the right notes in depicting acts of passage that many will have gone through. That Dorian is portrayed as a gay man who cannot dance shatters the 'disco queen' stereotype, in a feature whose concerns are handled in both an insightful and honest manner, having gone beyond the coming out act, to detail the complex nature of relationships; be they homosexual, family or with a father whose wrath mirrors the resentful 'why me' anger of his adolescent son.
To that end, Michael McMillian is perfectly cast as Dorian; a confused kid, prone to anxiety attacks and over analysing whose awkwardness is nicely countered by Lea Coco's confident portrayal of Nicky, being every inch the family's athletic hero. Yet it is Mo Quigley as the almost dimensionless mother who keeps the emotional goods to the end, detailing how well she knew her 'son-of-a-bitch' husband, one vividly brought to life thanks to a commanding performance from Steven C Fletcher as the overbearing father of the piece, filled with praise for his macho quarterback son and nothing but contempt for the fuschia member of the family. Only therein lies the twist, given Dorian is not the only one shown to have a sensitive side.
Both funny and touching, first time director Bardwell has delivered an observational one-liner laced work that showcases that going against the grain of life, is no easy option, only to conclude that to be thyself, regardless of what anyone thinks, is well worth the effort. Delightful.
screened as part of the 19th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2005
starring: Michael McMillian, Lea Coco, Steven Charles Fletcher, Mo Quigley, Austin Basis, Ryan Kelly Berkowitz, Chris Dallman,
Leslie Elliard, Sian Heder, Jeff Paul, Cody Nickell, Jack Abele, Richard Burke, Carl Dana, Frank D'Andrea,
Ryan Garrett, Tony Hastings, Dan Jacobs, Portia Kamons, Michelle Summerlin
in loving memory of Anne Robinson Taylor: 1935 - 2001