Outburst with expletives, bottoms and balls (literally, a blind lady has her head jammed between a naked man's thighs), Thom Fitzgerald's CLOUDBURST is not for the prude, adapted from his own awards-winning eponymous play, it is an atypical queer film illustrating a life-affirming story about an elderly lesbian couple, Stella and Dotty, played respectively by two Oscar winning actress Dukakis (MOONSTRUCK, 1987) and Fricker (MY LEFT FOOT, 1989).
Stella and Dotty have been living together for 31 years, during which period Dotty has become blind. When Dotty's self-seeking granddaughter Molly (Booth) puts her in a nursing home, so as to secure the proprietorship of their property, a feisty Stella spirits Dotty away, they embark a road trip from Maine to Nova Scotia to get married. En route they pick up a young hitchhiker Prentice (Doucette), a guileless dancer-cum-stripper, who is on his way to visit his dying mother Cat (O'Brien), eventually, he becomes their best man and officiate their matrimony.
From MOONSTRUCK to CLOUDBURST, hats off to Ms. Dukakis, edging 80-years-old during the filming, she takes up the gauntlet to play the larger-than-life butch dyke stereotype. Stella takes no prisoners in safeguarding her beloved Dotty, she is outspoken, indomitable and uncompromising, with a mouth can put even the most coarse sailor in the shade. She can also be mischievous and tender-heart-ed, the moments when she and Dotty share their rapport and emancipate their affections can be effectively and concurrently heart-warming and tear-jerking.
Ms. Fricker, hides her Irish accent and counterbalances Stella's panache with her more inwardly- radiated warmness, the blind is often the wiser, but she is not a clichéd femme either, when it comes to the crunch, even Stella balks at their future, she remains firm and we realize who is the real decision-maker. Mr. Doucette, reprises his role in the play, is sidelined mostly as a comic relief in spite of his own misery and an eye-candy to offset the senescence-skewing melancholy which has been loomed around since the very onset.
Mr. Fitzgerald doesn't try to sugarcoat a feel-good ending, since certain things cannot be sidestepped at that stage of life (as the title implies), instead, he chooses to instill laughter and hope in those darkest hours, to celebrate their fulfilled love, something only those lucky ones can have. Varnished with the golden-filtered palette and the awe-inspiring vista along their journey, no wonder CLOUDBURST is a massive crowd-pleaser in terms of its boutique license.