The plot revolves around the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the violent clash that kicked off the gay rights movement in New York City. The drama centers on Danny Winters, who flees to New York, leaving behind his sister. He finds his way to the Stonewall Inn, where he meets Trevor before catching the eye of Ed Murphy, manager of the Stonewall. He colludes with corrupt police and exploits homeless youth.
Roland Emmerich's first R rated movie since The Patriot (2000). See more »
In the opening set-up sequence, the police are carrying transparent curved riots shields with reinforced black edges and the word POLICE written across the center of the shield. Standard NYPD riots shields of 1969 were completely flat, did not have reinforced edges, and did not have writing on them (see original photos of the actual riot). The curved polycarbonate shields used for the film were not invented until the 1980s. See more »
Stonewall happened in June 1969. A gay bar named Stonewall was raided by the police in NYC. That was a common occurrence back then and all the drag queens, gay men and lesbians usually went quietly. But something happened this night. A drag queen fought back and everybody joined in. It turned into an all out riot with the police being attacked by the crowd. It was the beginning of gay liberation. This movie uses a fictional protagonist named Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine) who moves from Indiana to NYC to attend college. His family has disowned him after he came out. He falls in with a group of gay guys and drag queens led, more or less, by flamboyant Ray (Jonny Beauchamp). It follows his coming of age (hitting all the familiar notes) and accepting gay love and romance. It climaxes with the first gay pride march in 1970.
This has been blasted by critics everywhere. The largest complaints have been that the movie is historically inaccurate (this is true) and it whitewashes the story by giving us a white "hero" when it was a black drag queen that started it up. I can deal with that. This doesn't claim to be a documentary. Other movies that cover important historical events have used fictional protagonists. Why not this one? However that does not excuse the boring and thoroughly predictable script. It was insulting how clichéd and obvious this film was. Every single coming of age cliché you've ever seen is trotted out and put through its paces. Acting doesn't help. Irvine was tall, handsome and a total blank as Danny. He had the same confused look on his face during the entire film. Even worse his British accent slipped through a few times. It had my audience laughing. Jonathan Rhys Meyers (a good actor) appears to be drugged out in his role as Trevor. Only Beauchamp shows any life and gives a great performance. Also the film DOES look good and they capture the late 1960s fads and fashions perfectly. The recreation of the Stonewall bar is excellent too. It looks exactly like it's been described in books. Still this doesn't change that the fact that this is a terrible and boring picture. Check out the 1995 film "Stonewall" for a MUCH more accurate dramatization of the riot. Avoid this one.
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