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The talented Jane Hawkins (Dreya Weber, Lovely & Amazing) was an impressive gymnast at the top of her game until a devastating injury ended her career. Now she pours the passion, strength and discipline that once fueled her sport into maintaining both a tedious job as a massage therapist and a loveless marriage. A chance meeting leads sets Jane on a new path: performing a CirqueDu Soleil style aerial act with a mysterious and beautiful dancer named Serena (Addie Yungmee). Each of them are illuminated by the presence of the other, but there are distractions. Jane is distressed by her lack of children while Serena is a closeted lesbian who tackles stereotypes with being an adopted Korean daughter of Jewish parents. As the stunning pair prepares to audition their act for a Las Vegas show, the gravitational pull between the two women becomes increasingly unavoidable... A visually compelling film that challenges notions of both ability and identity, THE GYMNAST is foremost a story about ... Written by
The Gymnast (2006) was written and directed by Ned Farr. Dreya Weber portrays Jane Hawkins, a former world-class gymnast who was seriously injured and now earns her living as a certified massage therapist.
The promotional material leads you to believe that the plot hinges around Jane's accidental reunion with a former teammate. Although this meeting takes place, that plot line is secondary to the main plot, which involves Jane, her husband, and a professional dancer named Serena (Addie Yungmee). The two women develop an act of the type performed by Cirque de Soleil. The two complement each other--Jane is more experienced with heights and has tremendous upper body strength. Serena is more elegant and artistic, although, obviously, also capable of incredible physical feats.
The film works because we can understand how Jane would turn to Addie, who is caring and compassionate, while Jane's husband has taken her for granted for the many years of their marriage.
Both women are incredibly fit and athletic, and Dreya has the lean body and well-defined muscles that are characteristic of gymnasts. They clearly are truly performing their act, and the results are so excellent that we can believe they would indeed, be a success in Las Vegas, or anywhere else they traveled.
The sexual tension between the women is obvious, and the situation becomes even more complex when the act requires them to kiss while suspended in the air. A woman with a neglectful husband and an attractive woman partner make for an explosive situation, which isn't resolved in a neat and tidy fashion.
Of the six films we saw at the Rochester NY Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, we thought this one was the best. It will work on DVD, and is definitely worth seeking out on large or small screen. NOTE: Stay for the credits!
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