Title:  Get Real

Release Date:  1998

Nationality and Language: UK, English

Running time: 108 min

MPAA Rating: R

Distributor and Production Company:  Paramount Classics, Arts Council of UK

Director; Writer: Simon Shore (wr. Patrick Wilde)

Producer: Stephen Taylor

Cast:   Ben Silverstone, Brad Gorton, Charlotte Britain

Technical: full widescreen

Relevance to DOASKDOTELL site: coming out



Movie Review: Get Real (1998); Starring: Ben Silverstone, Brad Gorton, Charlotte Britain; Written by: Partick Wilde (based on his play); Directed by: Simon Shore; R (could be PG-13); Filmed in Panavision, Digital; Paramount Classics; 101 Minutes

            This is both a British comedy of manners and a "gentle" gay coming-out story that works. And, whatever its independent film roots, it has a big-budget, epic look, with wonderful details in a few of the English pastoral landscape scenes and a background music score that reminds one of Mahler and Samuel Barber.

            What makes this story work, of course, is the likeable nature of the teenage protagonist, Steven Carter (Ben Silverstone). He is constructed as a prepubescent, slightly androgynous romantic lead "object" (Java constructors, anyone??) Gentle, articulate, skinny but athletically competent, he is no sissy. (Yup, to please David Skinner of Weekly Standard, there's no hair on his chest, but he's just a Scarlet O'Hara 16). The prep school that he attends despises queers, so he is forced to look for love in public parks and restrooms, where, often enough, he encounters other male students from the school. Well, he never does anything in these places, and the movie is so gentle (the characters are kept widely spaced on the Panavision screen) that it could have gotten a PG-13 except for "gay content." He gradually becomes enamored to the school track star John Dixon (Brad Gorton), who pretends to be hetero to his frat brothers and an insensitive bi-stud for girl friends. (Girls like Carter better).

            Eventually, he wins a school essay contest with the appropriate "Millennium Youth" in which he says (kind of) what school proctors expect him to say. So he climbs onto his school intranet and writes an anonymous essay, "Get Real," in which he depicts what it is like to be a gay teen, and screams at the hypocrisy of properly straight upper-class British ( still Victorian) society. He gets invited to speak about his essay, when he reveals himself to be the author of his own "primary colors." This is no Hamline speech from a middle-aged guy on acetabular-related crutches, laced with pontifications about motivational morality; he breaks down and cries. Most politically incorrect and un-professorial. "It's just love, you know. What is everybody so scared of?" Could this movie have been called, "Do Tell"?




Related reviews: Latter days (etc); Queer as Folk


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