Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ready? OK!

Joshua is on the cusp of his 11th birthday, going to Catholic school, living with his single mother in Normal Heights, USA. But Joshua is not so much interested in being on the wrestling team, as in cheering the team on to victory. For Halloween, he goes to school dressed as Maria von Trapp from Sound of Music. He gets some help and support from his gay next-door neighbor Charlie (Michael Emerson, Lost), although his mother is clearly uneasy with the stereotypes her son's behavior plays into. Joshua does his best to tough it out, but it's clear that he doesn't belong on the "straight and narrow" path.

The backdrop of the family dynamic is a bit uneven, particularly the character of Joshua's vagrant loser uncle, who seems mostly to point up the lack of stable male role models in Joshua's life. But Lurie Poston as Joshua lights up the screen, leaping into the role with "gimme a V" V-E-R-V-E. (Remarkably, he was unable to attend the Frameline screening because he's away at football camp in South Carolina!) Look for him later this summer in the Will Ferrell movie Step Brothers. Michael Emerson plays the gay neighbor with quiet grace and understated elegance. Carrie Preston as the mother captures the uncertainty of trying to understand and deal with her son's likely homosexuality — how much should she try to butch him up? How much should she give him free rein to simply be himself, straight or gay, macho or sissy, quiet or flaming? Cute and sweet, with a strong child actor in a strong child role; highly recommended

Ready? OK!, dir. James Vasquez, 2008 USA 91 min.

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