19 October 2004 | grahamclarke
A small but important movie - see it
The lives of gay people are full of the stuff that makes for drama; inner conflicts, self acceptance, conformity, family tensions and many other issues gay people are forced to confront. Whether it's the late start or lack of a tradition, the genre of the gay movie has very little quality on offer. American cinema has been particularly weak in this area. The AIDS epidemic has been handled with more assurance than the inherent ordeals gay people face. There have been many stereotypical, predictable and basically forgettable gay movies over the years. "The Boys in the Band" made over 30 years ago still stands out as a major gay film; indeed a sorry state of affairs.
European cinema has fared far more successfully with matters gay, with such fine works as "Wild Reeds" and the outstanding "Come Undone". It comes as much of a surprise that the stodgy British cinema should have produced some of the landmark gay movies, amongst them the brave "Victim" (1961) made when homosexuality was still against the law and John Schlesinger's fiercely intelligent "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (1970). While "Get Real" is no masterpiece, it certainly is one of the most important gay themed films of the past few years.
Its importance lies in the lesson it so succinctly delivers. It's not a film directed especially at gay audiences and should be seen by all, especially high school audiences for whom it should be compulsory viewing.
The casting of Ben Silverstone was inspired. He manages to be totally convincing throughout, even pulling off the perhaps unlikely speech he delivers in the finale. Brad Gorton as his conflicted love interest has some truly moving moments. Director Simon Shore also elicits fine performances from the secondary characters, in particular Charlotte Brittain in the fag hag, fat friend role. It could have gone very wrong in lesser hands, but Brittain is a joy to watch and brings a lovely sense of humor to the proceedings.
Ultimately it's a truly unpretentious and very moving movie, far more effective than "Beautiful Thing". Don't miss it.