Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dream Boy

Based on a novel by Jim Grimsley, directed by James Bolton (Eban and Charley, 2000). Introverted, artsy boy Nathan (Stephan Bender) moves with his family to a string of Louisiana towns and cities. We find him in 10th or 11th grade, seeing out the window of the car the beautiful boy next door Roy (Maximillian Roeg) as he pulls up to his new house for the first time. They become close friends, exchanging help with English for Algebra, but then tutoring each other in more personal classes. The dark cloud over their explorations is the deeply religious backdrop, including both sets of parents. Roy's friends begin to suspect, and then things get ugly. Meanwhile, we go a bit deeper into the character of Nathan's father, with his bad side coming even more sharply to the fore. The complications reach a decidely non-Hollywood crossroads and resolution. Thoughtful and emotive performances by the two leads give a real sense of the stiflingly religious swamp and the soaring ecstasy of the two boys' time together. MUST SEE.

Dream Boy, dir. James Bolton, USA 2008, 90 min. 35mm

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  1. Thank You!
    I was curious to read some reviews of this movie (after I had already watched and loved it). I was hooked from the trailer, and I did some research on the book.
    I read some pretty harsh reviews though, criticizing exactly the things I liked about it, like the music, and Stephan Bender and Max Roeg's acting...I thought they were great. Stephan as Nathan just made me really want to protect him.
    Both characters were very believable, and the actress that played Nathan's mom was also great. I think the casting was great overall, except maybe for the "villain", but that is simply because I don't like him.
    But the point is, this movie really made me care. I know one thing people criticize is the "love scenes", but they are pretty true to the book, and that is just how teenagers act.
    I think it was so beautiful the way they fell in love, and this was another element I read criticized: I loved the furtive glances and all really reminded me of the way people actually act when they are in love.
    I respect other people's opinions, but sometimes feel they can be overly critical and not recognize all the hard work everyone put into the project, and you can definitely tell that a lot of hard work was put into this movie.
    Again, thank you for the positive review. I do hope the people involved with the movie see the positive reviews as well!

  2. I guess this is a cultural difference. Many American and Canadian friends liked the music, and frankly, his score is *quite* lovely. However, I found it overly present, and it robbed some moments of superlative acting of their intensity and power. I think of music in U.S. film like training wheels; if you don't get the delicacy and nuances of the actors' performances, here's some music to force you to feel a particular way. I prefer some Asian and European films that don't always try to control your emotions through music, and use it discretely and/or sparingly. Also, the music here telegraphs a lot of emotional things before they actually happen - fine if you've read the book, but the viewer who hasn't can guess what's coming next.

    Overall, a gem of film-making, and I liked the spontaneity of the love-making scenes, and I like how they negotiated their roles - that did seem very - I hate to use this word - organic! Among the better films at this year's local BGLT film festival.

  3. I found this film Dream Boy, to be a real tear-jerker, that caused a great deal of remembering the past. This film completely made the viewer experience the abuse of Nathan by his father, and to experience the love and kindness of Roy as a complete opposite of Nathan's father. The last 15 minutes of the movie though were heart-wrenching as it completely expressed the homophobia that exists in many young people of today, fearing that they might be found out to actually be gay. This film needs to be shown regularly in schools to teach young people about love, and homophobia, as the viewer gets deeply involved in the love between Nathan and Roy, and then has to have their world fall apart because of the other teenagers homophobia. It's a great film!!