High school senior Ben secretly lusts after bad boy classmate Johnny. After Ben gives Johnny a ride home one night, the boys end up in Johnny's swimming pool and have an encounter that breaks the rules and blows Ben's mind.
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It's the final semester before graduating from high school, and aspiring actress and good girl Alexa (Emmy Rossum), her outcast gay best friend Ben (Ashley Springer), and loner bad boy Johnny (Zach Gilford), go outside their comfort zones, and throw caution to the wind as they venture into unfamiliar young adult sexual grounds. A bumpy ride of high emotion, betrayal, heartbreak, and sexual experimentation. Written by
A surprisingly good elaboration of a favorite gay short film.
Dare was a genuinely surprising film. Having seen the short years ago at a gay film fest I thought that I knew what the story would be about and I was fully prepared to be disappointed that the feature wasn't as good as the short. Boy was I wrong! The film took me places I didn't expect and left me with images and ideas that I'll remember for a long time. There were likable, realistic characters that I genuinely cared about and a well written feature-length storyline that neatly incorporated the short that preceded it.
There were spots where the film showed its indie-film roots but, for the most part, the scenes were studio grade. The dialog was mostly well written, the actors knew their craft, and the director succeeded in bringing all of the filmic elements together better than most works of this kind. The overall tenor of the film was moderately light-hearted considering the subject matter and does a nice job of balancing the problems of high-school life with its promise.
Zach Gilford did a great job and turned a character that I thought of as a bit of a cad in the short into a sympathetic waif.
This is NOT a major studio release and if you go into it looking for that you'll be disappointed but if you'd like to see a nice small movie that treats issues of being gay in high-school as just one issue that today's youth deal with, then this may be the film for you.
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