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Miles Ahead (2004)
A leap forward for gay-themed films
One of the bones I have to pick with modern American film is its fear of tackling issues related to homosexuality. Unfortunately, it still seems to be a taboo when it comes to movies. That's why I was so thrilled at the debut of "Miles Ahead".
The story, in a nutshell, is this. Two boys in a small town are confronting the stigma of their love for each other- how to keep it a secret, whether or not to leave the town, and what to do. One of the boys, Taylor, wants them to leave, to be with each other in a place where their love can bloom- where "no one will know them". The other boy, Miles, is reluctant, worried about shaming his father or incurring the disapproval of the small town. He clearly loves Taylor- the scenes with Taylor and Miles together project an electrifying romantic tension (especially the scenes where the boys are working on their car). Miles finally decides to leave with Taylor- but, on the way out of town, Taylor is killed by a truck while sleeping in the car.
The movie goes on to show Miles dealing with life in the closet. The numerous scenes of him walking alone seem to signify his isolation. The only girls that he's shown with are unattainable- one is a 7 year old soccer player, and another is the mother of his dead friend. Some poignant scenes include a female classmate hitting on him, unaware that he does not- he cannot- share her affection. For his love is with another, and he can't get over that. But should he?
The recurring theme in the movie is handled brilliantly- instead of stating the obvious- "coming out of the closet", like a more mediocre filmmaker might do, the filmmakers here cleverly refer to it as "going over the mountain". Taylor is constantly pushing Miles to take the journey with him, over the mountain. But, as those of us who have been there know, you can only make that decision on your own. It's never easy- the filmmakers realize this- and it's a painful part of growing up gay in a small town.
I highly recommend this film to anyone open-minded enough to appreciates its beauty. Some people, conditioned to the fast paced films of Hollywood- films that involve conflict, action, and story- will find this film deliberatly obtuse. But to those of us who can appreciate this type of filmmaking- especially those of us, like the filmmakers, that have been through this experience- the film will prove to be an eye-opening look at love.