Raw, Powerful Humor
I have been hearing about “Outing Riley” for quite a while now and I have finally had the chance to see it. I understand it was a hit at this year’s Outfest in Los Angeles and I predict it will be a big hit on DVD when Wolfe releases it. The director, Pete Jones, risks no compromises and gives us a deeply personal movie which is truthful and honest to excess. Autobiographical in outlook, this is a deeply moving story of Bobby Riley (the director), a closeted homosexual from a large Chicago Irish-Catholic family. He is one of four boys and a girl and his father is dead. His sister, Maggie, knows that he is gay and has known for years. She encourages him to tell his brothers, one of whom is a priest.
Bobby’s boyfriend, Andy (Michael McDonald) also wants Bobby to come out and pushes him to do so.
The movie begins with Bobby telling the viewer of his situation and how he views his life as a movie. In looking at his own life, Bobby admits that there are several things about it that he does not like.
Some of the actors deliver outstanding performances. Among them is McDonald as Andy who has some wonderful lines and delivers them with aplomb. Likewise is Nathan Fillon as Bobby’s closest brother, Luke whom you may recognize from “Saving Private Ryan”. He is absolutely amazing as a clown who gets hurts deeply when he learns that his brother would not be honest with him about his sexuality.
The issue of coming-out here is looked as selfish. It is not something that can be forced and can only be done when the person is ready. It is easy enough to understand that Bobby could not tell his father when he was dying. Maggie, on the other hand, pushes little too hard but we know she means well.
I did find some of the humor to be a bit raw and in many cases a bit out of date. I think a more biting humor may have worked better. Even with that “Outing Riley” is a tender coming out film and I enjoyed every minute of it. This is one you want to see this year. I guarantee it.