In a suburb of London, young Jamie is escaping sport hours, to avoid being the victim of his comrades. Young Ste, his neighbor, is beaten by his father, and comes to sleep overnight. They discover new feelings, sleeping in the same bed.
After his gay cousin dies from hepatitis, young Laurent, who lives with his best friend Carole, falls in love with Cedric, a plant scientist. He's afraid to inform his conservative parents that he is gay.
Shy and withdrawn, Nathan (played by Stephan Bender) is new to his school, unusually smart (a grade ahead) and the silent tension at home nearly unbearable. Mom, Dad, and Nathan have moved constantly, town after town, landing, inexplicably, in god-fearing "St. Francesville". Roy (played by the multi-talented Max Roeg), a year older than Nathan, confident and hard-working, drives the bus to their school while a friendship blooms between them into a relationship that is fraught with confusion and yearning. But secrets pick at the relationship, the unspoken rules of their angst-driven interactions unravel as Nathan's world again comes crashing inwards. Tension crescendos as shame and terror, stress and disaster all compete to immobilize and destroy both of their worlds. Written by
The script was written three years before production began. See more »
The story is set in the 1970s, but the car shown in the opening scenes is a Buick Roadmaster station wagon, which was produced from 1991 to 1996. Also, the refrigerator shown is a modern model, not one from the 70s. See more »
Lost Little Man
Written and performed by Victoria Williams
Published by Mumblety Peg Music
Courtesy of Victoria Williams
By arrangement with Sugaroo! See more »
Near perfect depiction of young, inarticulate love
People watch movies for different reasons. Some people like an elaborate, fast-paced plot. Others enjoy the visual and audio experience. I am the kind of movie watcher who enjoys a well executed and consistent tone and mood. In "Dream Boy," the mood is both melancholy and sweet and there is a constant, if not always apparent, hint of anxiety and apprehension that builds throughout the movie. Capturing a mood is very difficult, and it relies on a number of factors including acting, cinematography, and music. While the acting of the supporting cast in "Dream Boy" can be somewhat inconsistent, the acting of the two main characters, Roy (Max Roeg) and Nathan (Stephan Bender), is very strong. I was particularly impressed with Bender whose performance reminds me of Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious." While it is true that the awkward, inarticulate teenager is well-trod territory in gay cinema, I've never seen the role acted so flawlessly. I was completely convinced that Bender was Nathan. Here we have a rare example of the kind of role that doesn't seem "acted" at all; it's as if Bender embodies the character. Sadly, I think actors with roles that are over-the-top, histrionic, and melodramatic often get the most praise, but it seems equally if not more difficult to portray a shy, introverted character, and the actors who really nail these roles often don't get the recognition they deserve (re: Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain). I've read some criticism that Bender's performance was "wooden," and it strikes me that if you were not an awkward, inarticulate teenager you might not be able to identify with the performance, but if you were the kind of kid who stayed inside most of the day you will probably find the portrayal of your former self incredibly accurate and moving.
There is a lot of attention paid to subtle, non-verbal forms of communication - glances, stares, half-smiles, physical contact - all of which create a much more realistic depiction of young, gay love than the more chatty gay coming-of-age movies that I'm used to seeing. All of that being said, I understand the disappointment with the ambiguous denouement, but plots are relatively tangential for me. If the actors and director manage to depict a convincing mood, then that is all I need to be satisfied, and they have certainly done that with "Dream Boy."
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