“Dorian Blues” (TLA Releasing) is a poignant little movie of a teenager discovering his sexual identity and the reaction of his conservative family. I thought to myself “oh no, another coming-out story” but I was surprised that this is really a good movie. Everything about it is good—the story line the acting, characters, the situations. It is a very funny look at adolescence. Most interesting is that the director is a straight man and he managed to get it all right.
Capturing Dorian’s struggle with his homosexuality in a way that is easy to relate to, the movie sets up laugh after laugh. Dorian has a well rounded coming out experience and this is shown through denial, bargaining and ultimately acceptance.
Dorian Lagatos (Michael McMillian—a guy to watch) is upset and sour that the world does not understand him. His own family is a microcosm of society. His father is a right wing radical, his mother is subservient to her husband and his brother is everything that Dorian is not—a jock, a carefree high schooler and a ladies man. Dorian suddenly realizes that the reason he does not fit in is because he is gay and with this epiphany, he finds solace and comfort with a gay fried, Spooky. Dorian feels that he must stay in the closet but does confide his feelings to his brother who has no problem with the issue. The two brothers are separated by college; Dorian goes to New York to study and finds gay life, fits in and falls in love, watches the games that people play and confronts his own rejection when his love affair falls apart. Dejected and despondent, his brother comes to visit him, they receive a call that their father has died. Dorian must now face his father (even though he is dead) and his mother who is much more sensitive than Dorian had known. Dorian learns that the philosop0hy of life is neither bound nor dependent upon sexual identity.
Everything in the film is handled with intelligence and free of the usual coming out clichés. It captures some of the experiences that we have when coming out, especially the arrival at the decision where one doesn’t care anymore about what people think. I especially liked the way the movie shows how Dorian falls for the first person that shows him any attention and how after losing him goes back into the closet. We get a glimpse of his own internalized homophobia of purposely trying to appear straight. There is also the experience of having sex with someone who you do not feel attractive but is available. I especially liked the way honesty forces one person to come out interacts with another kid of honesty we must use to fit in. There is also the case of family members thinking gayness is only a phase to be outgrown and wanting one to hide and not to take the sexuality seriously and then how after being alarmed become accepting. Coming out is a process that seems to never end and is not really a confession but a way of life.
The movie also deals with the idea of looking different and being gay. The movie is not just Dorian’s coming out story; it is our collective coming out story. It shows how harmful the rules of how men should be are. Gender roles, as seen by society, not only women but hurt everyone equally.
This is not a new story but Dorian’s tale seems fresher than most. It looks at the inner struggles other have as a family member comes out.
We have become used to the idea that low budget films are usually mediocre but “Dorian Blues” shows that to be an incorrect assumption. It is a simple story and the actors are unknowns but that only adds to the charm. Here we have a warm and sensitive film that deserves to be seen. It accurately shows the feelings and situations that we experience when coming out. It is a funny look at a young and awkward boy’s life after he realizes that he is gay and you can’t help but love this tender film.