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22 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

One of the better 'gay' themed 90s movies

10/10
Author: dutchtom1 from London
28 September 2004

Early on into the movie one becomes interested in the story and what will follow. The actors give charming performances and their conflicting interests are dealt with credibly. The film consists of a well balanced blend of drama, humour, fast paced action, and gentler quiet moments. Blackpool is visualized as bleak in comparison to brightly lit London; which symbolizes an environment of repression and brutality in contrast to a more liberal and sophisticated environment. The effect this change of setting has on the main character, is the red thread of the movie. He wants that change but, his character is still very much rooted in the Northern village mentality, albeit combined with a very appealing innocence. A straight audience that criticizes the film because the main characters are gay, and therefore cannot identify with these characters and declare it flawed, only reveal their limited imagination and intelligence. Also one must not ignore other important themes such as jealousy, the North / South divide, fast love against long term relationships.

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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Well acted and directed movie

Author: guilfisher from New York City
27 October 2004

I did like this movie. Directed by Paul Oremland, hopefully not his last, he brought truth and fine acting by a not so famous cast, to the fold. It was a low budget made film, but the writing, by Robert Gray, was top notch. It proves you can tell a beautiful love story without the glitz and millions of dollars. I think Mr. Oremland was in love with his story and his cast. He gave it such beautiful and heartbreaking moments. His interview on the DVD explains why he did the film and why he had such a strong connection in filming it. He also explained how he found the leading man, Steve Bell. Bell is perfectly cast as Craig, a young boxer from the skids who is not only fighting in sleezy matches but fighting his coming out as a homosexual.

He seemed so natural, they claim he actually had done some boxing in real life, you believed him from the start. Watching his opening up in his relationship with a pick-up, played by the beautiful Ian Rose. Rose also gave a truthful and lovely performance as he too found himself in his relationship with Craig. They played their scenes together quite well, including their nudity scenes.

Other cast members were Dani Behr, who played such a selfish girl-friend to Rose, I wanted to slap her. What a witch, and I use the term lightly. Then there's Craig's brother, well played by Chris Hargreaves,

who learns his brother is gay and supports him and his choice. Kind of brother every gay guy wishes he had. Roger Daltrey played another sleezy character in this film. I'm not quite sure whether I disliked his acting or his role the most. I didn't like him in this. I'm one who didn't know who he was. Not a THE WHO fan obviously. So I can't compare him to anything, but what he did in the film. Maybe Mr. Oremland felt he needed a name? I thought Daltrey overacted. But, that's a minor flaw in this wonderful movie. The story, acting and directing all make it worthwhile in renting the DVD. Go and do it like it is.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Good Gay Drama

8/10
Author: phibes012000 from The House of Good Schlock
20 March 2005

This film is about a young boxer who falls in love with a club manager. That's the story: the theme to me was about coming out of the closet as a gay man. I know this situation only too well, and this film hits the nail on the head (no pun intended). Roger Daltrey is the only star in this film, playing an older gay man seeing the younger make mistakes. The two male leads are handsome, and the sex scenes are neither exploitational nor lurid. This movie tells it like it is: coming out is a very painful and distressing emotional experience. Please see this film. This is a very strong drama for those who can take it. Released in 1998 hy First Run Features.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Steve Bell is amazing. Film is sexy, tough and and gritty.

10/10
Author: John Seger from Los Angeles
21 May 2004

It's very rare a young actor makes such a great positive impression in his debut film. British actor, Steve Bell, does just that! A natural talent, his acting carries this film. Although one cannot ignore how physically beautiful he is, his acting is what matters here. Playing a blackpool fighter(Steve boxed in real life), he carries his role with a masculine swagger, while also displaying a tenderness so rarely captured on film. Struggling with his own sexuality, gay audiences will embrace this performance and straight audiences will find this film proves it appeals to mainstream viewers as well. Soon, gay themed films will not be seperated from "straight" themed films, as love is universal. And this film is ground-breaking as it never depends on stereotype.

Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the legendary rock band, THE WHO, shows he has great acting chops, as does Ian Rose. Brilliantly directed by, Paul Orewland, this film is my favorite gay themed film, along with the American film, "Edge of seventeen."

I will cherish this film over and over. And, once again, I must say, Steve Bell is sexy, brilliant, and impossible to keep your eyes off of him!!

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Tough but sweet

9/10
Author: Alexnader from Stuttgart, Germany
29 October 2003

This is a simple and enjoyable film. It shows the evolution of the sexual-love relationship of two young men in London. The total contrast of the characters and their origins, as well as the graphical elements of the characters, specially the one of Craig, demystify alot of gay stereotypes through an unusual romance.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Novel ideas improve pedestrian drama

7/10
Author: CarPort1 from New York City
20 December 2004

Although not a masterpiece, there is certainly an air of originality here. The gay boxer theme helps to breakdown some stereotypes (at least he's not a hairdresser or interior designer -- not that there's anything wrong with those, but they would just confirm straight mainstream impressions). Also the fight scenes themselves, instead of being choreographed to cheesy Hollywood-style "fight" music, they've chosen Saint-Saen's piano and cello composition "The Swan." A metaphor? Perhaps, but just the aural juxtaposition itself is intriguing. So if you're looking for something gay, British, non-mainstream, here it is (although not the best of any of those categories it sure beats your typical Hollywood fare).

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable 'coming-out' tale set in the Blackpool's violent underworld.

7/10
Author: Julian Hathaway from Colchester, England
8 August 1998

This surprisingly good debut from director Paul Oremland follows the story of bare-knuckle fighter Craig (impressively acted by British amateur featherweight champion, Steve Bell) as he abandons his violent life in Blackpool's underworld and finds love and disillusionment in London's gay clubland.

As with many debuts, part of the fun of this film is trying to trace Oremland's influences. There are heavy reworkings of the "Breaking Glass" scenario (1980: Brian Gibson), with the action of "Like It Is" relying on the same devices: the buying of records from particular stores in order to make a record enter the music charts (a hideously corny nineties style boy -band); the predatory boss-figure (played with worrying believability by Roger Daltrey); and the casual drug-taking. Elsewhere, the relationship between Ian Rose's record producer and the naive Bell reminds us of that between the Gordon Warnecke and Daniel Day Lewis characters in "My Beautiful Launderette" (1985: Stephen Frears) although, like all Oremland's 'borrowings' this is given a powerful nineties twist, concerning itself not with a racial divide between the lovers, but a cultural one in the macho, 'don't call me queer' stance of the Northerner and the 'glad to be gay' hipness of the Londoner.

This is a slightly awkward film but Oremland cleverly sidesteps the usual cliches that so often marr well-intentioned yet cringe-worthy gay drama. The performances of both Bell and Daltry are absolutely first-rate, whereas Rose is satisfactory even if I couldn't quite believe someone throwing up their life to follow him across the country after a one-night stand. Behr is just plain annoying -- although, it must be said, her character is anything but likeable, so how much of this lies with the actress herself is open to debate.

As a coming-out tale, "Like It Is" is a little too sugar-coated for my tastes: I found the reaction of Bell's elder brother, on finding out his predilections ("Thank God!") rather unbelievable -- as was Rose's telling him in the first place. Surely, as an experienced gay-man, Rose would have more sense than to go into a strange man's home and out his brother -- especially when the aforementioned stranger is standing between him and the door.

But these are minor niggles -- as a debut film, this is a highly enjoyable effort and well worth seeing. Contains swearing, drug-taking, nudity and sex scenes. 3½ out of 5.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Meh.

3/10
Author: rich-228 from Houston, TX
2 July 2008

I didn't get it. I suppose if you're under 25 you might find this film interesting, but anyone who's seen good films will probably be bored. Unless perhaps you're going to be thrilled that it's got gay characters in it, and a gay milieu. Perhaps now, in the post-Brokeback world, that's not enough anymore? All the stock characters of this type of story are here: the young British gay who's afraid to come out, the seen-it-all club denizen who meets him and falls in love (or lust), the blonde girlfriend just trying to have her big break, the record producer who loves having young boys around, etc.

Or maybe it was just the boring techno music that put me off?

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Choppy but interesting

Author: Matthew Ignoffo (mermatt@webtv.net) from Eatontown, NJ, USA
21 January 2001

I found the plot of this film very choppy, even unbelievable. For example, a stolen car plot thread is brought up and then dropped. There is also some awkward staging such as bright lights in bedroom shots where people are supposedly asleep.

The story of a young bare-knuckles fighter who has to deal with the fact that he is gay is interesting. The point is that love wins out over money and macho. The performance by Steve Bell is what makes the movie worth seeing because he is able to project a sweet, winning personality beneath his tough-guy exterior.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A gay, bare-knuckle fighter who fights for money AND love

9/10
Author: Bob Drake (bobdrake@mac.com) from Bronx, NY
18 July 1999

Like It Is is one of the better, non-comedy gay films to be released in many years. (The entire script is available on-line from First Run Features, and this may help viewers cut through some British dialect problems.)

This film, about a scrappy, gay, bare-knuckle fighter from a small industrial town who follows love to the big city, is hard hitting and very real in its plot execution -- except for two somewhat explicit gay sex scenes which seem staged and NOT like it is. Everyone puts in a good performance, particularly Roger Daltry as an unscrupulous, gay record producer whose blue eyes sparkle as he schemes.

Considering the timeframe, the characters are well developed. The conflicts within the young, chip-on-the-shoulder fighter seem real -- he beats on people who pick on him for being gay until he is reminded by his lover that he IS homosexual. It is impressive that the British will fund movies like Priest, Get Real and Like It Is. I cannot see these being made in the U.S., where gay films are usually comedies (In & Out) where a male-male kiss is a Big Deal.

The final scenes (a bare-knuckle fight) are bloody and not easy to watch, but the ending is believable.

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