“ELEVEN MEN OUT”–Icelandic laughs

Icelandic Laughs

Amos Lassen

I doubt that many of us think of Iceland when we think of watching a movie. After you see “Eleven Men Out”, (Here! TV Pictures), you will probably think again.

The movie is just what the title implies it is a sports film about a gay athlete. Ottar Thor is a professional soccer star who comes to the conclusion that he should leave the closet behind him. This idea comes to him after he scores an incredible kick that wins the championship game. He ends up being kicked off of the team and his dad who happens to be one of the managers tries to convince Ottar to change his mind. Ottar has a son who finds the whole business disgusting and is convinced than his father cares nothing for him nor about the effect coming out will have on his life. Ottar’s ex-wife, Gugga is an alcoholic former Miss Iceland is concerned because Ottar will no longer have sex with her and Ottar’s friend, Petur, introduces him to a team that has a few gay men on it.

Now that you know that this is a movie about sports, you are probably expecting it to have several soccer matches in it. There are none. We do see the team getting ready to play and out on the filed but we never see them play. This was probably done to keep the focus on the characters and not on the field.

What I found interesting is how much all of the characters look alike but we do not spend much time with them. This is because the emphasis of the film is on relationships and the effect of what being gay has on Ottar’s family. A lot of time is spent on Ottar’s interaction with his son and his ex-wife and on Ottar’s attempt to form a relationship with another male. We also see Ottar in contrast to his brother who is abusive to his wife and females in general.

There is a great deal of stereotyping in the film and it is used for the sake of humor which is humor similar to what we see on American sit-coms. But there are also many beautiful moments in the film. Eleven Men Out? gives us an interesting look at how society in Iceland regards gays and it is a fun film. It outlines the pressures of being gay in a fun way but it has its serious moments too. There is a wonderful balance between drama and humor and we do see the immediate implications that come about when someone publicly comes out. Ottar is very strong in getting on with his life once he comes out and he also takes strong action to keep those he cares about around him and to help them understand his sexuality. Being gay is not that important to Ottar but it is a big issue for those around him. In this way, we root for him and we want things to work out for him and his family and his fellow athletes.
The movie deals with serious issues as well such as homophobia and coming out. We see Ottar’s new teammates not always being concerned with their sexual proclivities. They seem to be more interested in having a good time playing ball.

Here is a realistic and original film that is packed with humor as well as sexy good looking men. The film especially shows the effect of coming out on a young son and what he goes through when his father admits that he is gay. The film also wastes no time in going right to the issue.

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