Seymour Polatkin is a successful, gay Indian poet from Spokane who confronts his past when he returns to his childhood home on the reservation to attend the funeral of a dear friend. Written by
I deserved a better life than I was born into. But I made it better with nobody's help, including shit from you. And I got no help from any of these goddamn Indians here. I had to do it myself.
You write about these goddamn Indians! Telling me you did it yourself! These Indians that you write about, they're helping you every day, each and every one of them; every house, every story, every poem. They're helping you. Telling me you had nobody. We've been helping you since you were born.
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A film by at least 62 people, Indigenous and otherwise. See more »
I'm probably not in the right demographic for this movie. Although I am gay, I am not an American Indian, and this movie depends heavily on an appreciation of their culture, their history and (if this movie is at all authentic) their overwhelming love of melodrama.
Not a single word in the very stilted and contrived screenplay sounded to me like an actual human being talking, but like a person reading a proclamation about something very profound. The many poetry readings, funeral speeches, etc - even ordinary conversations between lovers and friends - sound so forced and pretentious that they're nearly unbearable. That's probably because the movie was written by a poet about himself. When the same poet also directs the movie, the combination practically guarantees a mediocre result.
Very, very few successful movies are written and directed by people whose subject is their own lives and whose primary interest is in poetry rather than in movie-making. In fact, I can't think of a single one.
If Sherman Alexie had allowed someone else to write and direct his story, it might have worked very well, because it's not an uninteresting story - but this movie doesn't work at all, not for me. It's too unnatural, and Native Americans ought to be MORE natural than the rest of us, not less.
If you have a soft spot for overblown melodrama, stilted dialog, declamatory acting and/or Native Americans, then The Business of Fancydancing may be just right for you. But if you're looking for a good movie, keep looking.
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