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Dorian Blues (Unrated)

Release Date: September 23rd, 2005 (NYC-Clearview Chelsea East and Quad Cinema) by TLA Releasing.
The Cast: Michael McMillian, Lea Coco, Charles Fletcher, Mo Quigley.
Directed by Tennyson Bardwell.

BASIC PREMISE: After Dorian (McMillian) comes out to his brother Nicky (Coco), he must deal with coming out to his conservative parents.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Michael McMillian gives a very good performance as Dorian, the title character. What makes him so likeable is that he finds the perfect balance between being funny and being serious without ever seeming fake. Everyone else also plays their part very well, including Charles Fletcher as Dorian's very stern father. The sharp script gives him plenty of lines that are full of sarcasm as well as wit. The plot presents a very clear conflict from the start: Dorian is gay but his father is very strict and conservative--not-to-mention degrading, too. His mother is well-meaning, but she is oblivious to Dorian's problems. There is one very funny sequence when Dorian visits a psychiatrist and is instructed to talk to a mannequin as if it were his father. When he comes out to his brother Nicky, he no longer requires any more sessions. Nicky's goal is to make Dorian think and act like a straight guy. Predictably, he brings out his masculinity by making him fight him at first. His next attempt is to bring him to a strip club where a stripper is hired to de-virginize him. What happens after that is rather unpredictable as the plot takes a more serious turn. Dorian goes to New York City for college while Nicky goes away to play football on a college scholarship. The real surprises in this film come from the characters themselves. Nicky and Dorian are very different at first, but it is interesting to watch them gradually becomes similar in subtle ways. It is very rare for a film to switch off its comedy button and suddenly turn serious without seeming contrived. The reason why it succeeds to be both engaging and realistic is simply because of its well-written script and strong, convincing acting from every actor and actress in the film.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Honesty is always the best policy, but no one every said that it's easy. The real issue that this film raises is the concept of what is normal for an individual as opposed to what is normal for society. The problem with trying to define normal in either context is that it is relative to every person and every society. It's important to keep an open mind but it is not always possible given one's upbringing and religion. The conversations between Dorian and his father are very sad because of how cold and degrading his father is. Fortunately, they also highlight Dorian's self confidence--especially since he came out to himself, which is a very important step to face reality and, ultimately, to find who you really are.



THE BOTTOM LINE: A very funny and witty first half leads to a more serious and touching second half. The very sharp and well-written script along with the strong acting all across the board make for a very entertaining and lively film. This is a much smaller movie than In & Out with Kevin Kline, but it is funny in its own unique way and surprisingly touching without the fake Hollywood touch.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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