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Who could have guessed that a bunch of men in dresses would breath life into the movement to win equal rights for gay men and lesbians? Certainly not the police who raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular "drag" bar in Greenwich Village. After a long history of police raids, extortion, and brutality, a gaggle of drag queens at the Stonewall decide they have had enough and begin to riot when the police try to load them into a paddy wagon. Told by "La Miranda" (Hector), a regular customer at the Stonewall Inn, the film is a recounting of events that led up to that fateful day in 1969. "Matty Dean" is the handsome angry young man that La Miranda meets at the Stonewall one day and with whom she/he quickly falls in love. "Bostonia" is the self-styled Queen Mother of the drag queens and guides each initiate gently "into the life." Her lover, Vinnie, is the closeted proprietor of the Stonewall. His tragic response to the suffocation he feels bearing down on him from a homophobic world -- perhaps...Written by
Mark Fleetwood <email@example.com>
Early in the film, there is a shot of a sign being posted that said "We homosexuals plead with our people to please help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the Village." This was an actual sign which was prominently and publicly posted outside the original Stonewall Inn in early summer 1969, about one month prior to the Stonewall Riots began. See more »
The sip-in depicted took place in 1966, not 1969. It was not the Stonewall Inn that refused service, but a bar called Julius (which is shown as the sip-in's first stop in the film). See more »
See, there's as many Stonewall stories as there's gay queens in New York, and that's a shit load of stories, baby. Everywhere you go in Manhattan, or America, or the entire damn world, you're gonna here some new legend. Well this is my legend honey, okay? My Stonewall legend.
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Frederick Weller is the perfect embodiment of the frustrated gay male who is ready for a change, and a revolution to boot. He arrives in NYC, somewhat naive, and is befriended by a drag queen who introduces him to the city and its many characters. He is discouraged almost immediately but it starts a feeling in him that makes him uneasy about the way things are. At the time bars were getting raided constantly and there were other ridiculous laws, too, none of which sit well with him. He befriends another man who enlightens him about rallies, a peaceful march to Philadelphia, and takes him to Fire Island. But its all still bad, since he knows he's being treated badly because of who he is.
Climax of the movie is the riot at the end, which wasn't much of one as far as I'm concerned, but the police finally found they were being stood up to, and they didn't like it.
All the actors are excellent, especially Weller, who's inexplicably not a major star, and Guillermo Diaz as La Miranda, a not-as-tough-as-she-pretends-to-be drag queen. Its La Miranda's version of things, and when she says 'we're American as apple pie' as the last line of the movie, you can't help but believe her.
Kudos to all involved. 9/10.
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