November 22, 2008

All The World's A Stage

Wow. It would appear as if I have gone soft. No really. I just got out of Were The World Mine, and I actually felt happy. I usually never feel happy after I leave a movie. I am usually brooding on the films deeper meaning, or in a fit of rage that I had just spent $10 on a piece of garbage. But, Were The World Mine was the exception. All it is is a small love story/ musical that left me with a smile on my face. It has it's problems, to be sure, but they don't detract from the overall giddiness you'll feel when you leave.
So, there's Timothy. Timothy is having hard times at school, hard times at home, just hard times in general. Most of this stems from the fact that he is out as gay, which made his father leave him and his mother, and giving the boys in school a chance to give him tons of shit. If it weren't for the fact that he had two really good friends, he would probably be pushing up daisies. He is also prone to delving in musical daydreams, usually involving the topless figure of his crush, the school's star rugby player. When the Shakespeare teacher casts him as Puck in Midsummer Nights Dream, he gets a bright idea. He is going to pull a Puck, and make everyone in town fall in love with each other, only there's a catch. Everyone is gonna be gay, so they can walk in his shoes for a little bit. Mischief ensues. 
Tanner Cohen plays Timothy. He's fairly unknown, like everyone in this, so it's easy to accept him as this character. He does a good job, bringing some real emotion to a character that could have easily been exploited. Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin) plays Timothy's best friend, Frankie. She is a self described "heteroflexible", meaning, she's straight, but shit happens. She has been legally emancipated at the age of fifteen, and as such, spends most of her walking around with her guitar. Williams is very good as this spunky, very cool kid. It doesn't hurt that she writes good songs. The other main role falls to Wendy Robie as the Shakespeare teacher/play director, and she is sensational. Like Steve Coogan's drama teacher in Hamlet 2, Robie bears strikingly resemblance to any theatre teacher who loves what they do. She has so many lines that could've come off as stupid or insipid, but her hands, they come off as gold. Solid gold! All the other supporting parts are good as well. 
Director Tom Gustafson has one wild imagination. Seeing as most of the musical numbers are in the Timothy's head, the director is free to go nuts and deliver something unlike any thing we've seen before. They are all very flashy and frenetic, and you can't help but love each and everyone. Now, you may think that with all the emphasis put on the musical numbers, the heart to heart stuff and regular dialogue would fall flat. Not so! The characters are given all the space they need to become fleshed out. We really sympathize with them in the end. 
Now, onto the most important part of a musical, the music. The music in Were The World Mine is not going to win any awards, but it will keep you entertained as you watch. At one point, there are the fantastical dream sequences, and at others, there are songs set in the real world, and in real time. It's kind of like Once in that regard. Most of the songs are well written, with many of them borrowing actual text from Shakespeare himself. Does that sound crazy? I thought so too, but it works, to a an alarming degree. Since most of the music is great, it's a shame that the finale (sung by Williams, no less) fails to deliver that punch needed in finale. Oh, did I just name a flaw. Oh well, I guess I should name some more. 
First off, there's pacing. The movie starts off great, with a dodgeball game turned into a operatic daydream, and then it just stalls for 45 minutes while we get to know everyone around Timothy. Timothy doesn't engineer his brilliant scheme until about an hour into the movie, and that, in turn, makes the rest of it seemed rushed. I wish they had spent more time with everyone falling in love with each other, rather then dwelling on Timothy's mom and her pathetic attempts at lotion selling. Also, some of the supporting characters are way too over the top and cliched, like a homophobic gym teacher, or a Bible spewing parent. They don't read as real people, and read as the archetypes that you need to put in a story like this. And don't even get me started on the ending. Let's just say that there was only one way this movie was going to end, and that's how it turned out. 
But the main thing that might dissuade people from seeing Were The World Mine is that the film is gay. Like, aggressively gay. This isn't a problem at all, but, well, let's just say that there are a lot of scenes involving dudes in tight shirts and glitter. I personally loved because of this, seeing at it was something I usually don't get the chance to experience. But, you know, there are those people out there who are not easily swayed, and they may not like it because of that. But, please, get past that and grow up. In this day and age, I think we can handle a movie that deals with something you'd rather not deal with. And Were The World Mine is a movie that, I think, people will get, and enjoy. Whether you be gay, straight, or somewhere in between, you should seek out this movie. You will thank me later. 

1 comment:

  1. in a word, concision.