Gay at 16
At 16 years old, sex is a mystery (or it once was). Not only is it mysterious, it is exciting and intoxicating, forbidden and bewildering. For the 16 year old British boy, Steven, in “Get Real” it is also puzzlement. He is gay and can’t talk about it except to his best girlfriend and the men he has sex with in public bathrooms. When he finally falls in love with a handsome jock named John, he is ecstatic except that John is scared to death of his own sexuality. What the movie deals with is Steven’s journey of self-discovery as he travels along the road that he has to travel in order to understand and realize that it is better to live an honest life rather than live a lie. Teenage angst is portrayed as bittersweet experience which both exhilarates and excites. Adolescence is a rough time for everyone but it seems to be harder when you are gay. When Steven and John attend a school dance and dance with their dates, they gaze into each other’s eyes. From this point on the film seems forced but it is beautiful nevertheless. Ben Silverstone as Steven wins our empathy the moment we first see him and we just want to tell him that everything will be just fine
“Get Real” is further proof that the British know how to make good films. It is simple and complex at the same time and it wins our hearts, not just by appealing to our emotions but by the sincere story that the film embodies. The acting is great, the script is tight and the situation is real, very real.
It seems as if I spend a lot of time writing about coming-of-age films with very young characters. This is not a preference; it is what movies are being made about. What these young kids go through is not much different from what we encountered and by watching them we also see ourselves. Growing up gay is not easy although it is a good easier than it was. Kids today still have conscience qualms and wonder if they will fit. A movie like “Get Real” can help them see that they are not alone in the world and that basically every gay kid gores through the same thing and that every gay male was once a gay kid.