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Coming-of-age. A small-town young man realizes why he's such a misfit - he's gay! Adolescence is proving a pain for the always-thinking Dorian. He's an outcast and the butt of classmates' fag jokes at high school. He's different and understands why when he reaches the conclusion that he's a "stereotypical gay." He soon announces this discovery to his homophobic, Nixon-loving dad. As Dad throws him out of the house, Dorian's off to NYU to encounter a new world of coffee houses, sophisticates and handsome men. Written by
sweet, comedic sketch of American masculinity that captures many of the intricacies of coming out
The film captures some of the experiences that can be part of people's coming out: arrival at the point where you just don't care what other people think of you anymore; falling for the first mature gay person you meet who treats you as a human being (his therapist); temporarily going back into the closet, only to change your mind; the internalized homophobia of going out of your way to appear straight; sleeping with someone you're not terribly attracted to just because they're the only person you know of who's available and gay; the interactive relationship between the honesty that impels you to come out as gay and the honesty in other compartments of your life; family members not wanting to listen to you or to take your sexual orientation seriously (his dad); family members wanting you to hide and deny your sexual orientation (his brother); family members initially freaking out but gradually changing their attitude (his brother); family members wanting to have a relationship with you but trying to avoid the gay part of your life (his brother); the fact that coming out is a long process that keeps coming back to you, not a confession that lasts as long as it takes you to tell people you're gay.
The 3-dimensional characters were Dorian, his brother, his first boyfriend, his dad (though exaggerated in the service of satire), and his oblivious and out-of-the-loop mom (who shatters this characterization at the end, revealing her wisdom). Dorian is not sexually objectified or portrayed as innocent. Rather, his character is developed as that of a smart-assed but courageous, realistically awkward adolescent boy.
Another theme was the overlap between being different and being gay. Looking at the film summary and user comments (most of which I agree with), some people seem to have misinterpreted, in my opinion, what this film says about being gay. It is one boy's coming out story, not every gay man's coming out story. Not all gay people were always different. Likewise, not all high school students who deviate from normality are gay. Another phenomenon in the user comments was the idea that just because this was a good film, the actors and director are going to rise to fame. News flash: there are many, many talented and hard-working actors and directors who never get a big break.
Straight people (99% of whom I've observed to be ignorant of the myriad issues LGBT people go through in coming out and the fact that these issues are caused by our heterosexist, homophobic culture) should see this movie.
Dorian Blues doesn't stray from Hollywood's typical portrayal of a gay coming out story of a white, middle class boy who likes dancing and isn't good at sports (not to mention that one of its two black characters is absurdly dehumanized for a cheap plot advancement), nor does it overcome Hollywood's aversion to three-dimensional female roles, but it doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't.
Furthermore, its portrayal of the preciousness of sibling relationships despite gaps in understanding motivated me to write a letter to my brother.
More than anything, its message is of the harmfulness of our rules for how men should be. We often think of women as being the ones who are short-shifted by gender roles, but this film shows how they hurt all of us.
The Spanish-subtitled version is called "El Secreto de Dorian."
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