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Same Difference (2002)

 -  Drama | Short  -  19 October 2003 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 72 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

Leon and Noel are twin brothers. When Leon becomes interested in Abi and Abi becomes interested in Noel a love triangle is formed until Noel makes a declaration of his own.

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Title: Same Difference (2002)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Bianca Bonomi ...
Abi
Jonathon Natynczyk ...
Noel / Leon (as Romeo Natyncyzk)
Chris Piper ...
Ed
Nigel Shipp ...
Dominic Scott
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Leon and Noel are twin brothers. When Leon becomes interested in Abi and Abi becomes interested in Noel a love triangle is formed until Noel makes a declaration of his own.

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Drama | Short

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19 October 2003 (USA)  »

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Cinematic trick or integral to the character? You decide
25 October 2003 | by (Washington, D.C.) – See all my reviews

This is a nice little film that I wish had a bit more going on in it. Twin brothers Leon and Noel (notice the names?) play ruby together. Abi, a cute girl (played by Bianca Bonomi, who is given absolutely nothing to do in the film except look pretty), has a crush on Noel. But it's Leon who really wants her.

When the boys turn 17 (one supposes), a big party is thrown in their honor. Abi wants Noel desperately, but her kisses are rejected. When Leon tries to console Noel, the bombshell is dropped: Noel's really gay.

Up to this point, the film has an interesting (if somewhat predictable) plot to it. The real question is how one twin brother -- usually so close and so intimate with his sibling (that typical "twins are closer than lovers" thing) -- could hide a secret so large. Is denial that powerful? Or is twin-hood that concealing? Is the fact that Noel and Leon are twins just a cinematic device to get the audience to think "there is no difference between these two kids" (e.g., homosexuality doesn't matter), or is it something integral to the film?

The problem is that the film never really goes anywhere with any of these questions. When three homophobic friends of Leon and Noel's come upon heterosexual Leon sitting on a riverside dock, they try to drown him. Noel comes to his brother's rescue. All is forgiven. They resume their normal lives.

Somehow, that's just too abrupt and pat an ending. Are the brothers accepted by their scrum-mates? What about Abi? One audience member wondered aloud if perhaps both brothers were queer.

It's pretty plain that writer-director Harry Richards wants audiences to take away the concept that homosexuality doesn't matter. These two boys are identical in all ways -- their innate morality, their personality, their native intelligence, their looks, their rugby skills even -- except for the insignificant fact that Noel is gay.

Queer film often wrestles with that very concept. For some filmmakers, being gay is not insignificant at all! Their films demand acceptance and tolerance, but refuse to minimize the immense difference being queer makes in who a person is. Other filmmakers (such as Harry Richards) seem to be saying that homosexuality isn't a difference or important, and its very insignificance should lead to acceptance and tolerance.

The problem in "Same Difference" is that the film makes Richards' point very early on (it's plain that Noel is gay from the very first minutes of the film, long before there is much dialogue). If there's a point to the emotional break between the brothers, to their being twins, or to the hetero's being rescued by the queer, it's missing from the film.

This isn't to say that this film is bad in any way. The cinematography is good (although the lighting has much to be desired), and the editing sure (if not inventive). The special effects which create the illusion of twin brothers is very inventive and exceedingly well-done! Jonathon Natynczyk is a very good actor (and astoundingly good looking! Romeo.....OH! ROMEO!), and he brings off the dual role very well.

But you, like I, may be disconcerted over the way the film backs away from certain issues it raises.


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