July 13, 2011

A Movie about Coming Out at 75, and a Video about Hope for Bullied Teenagers

I saw both and loved both.

The Movie Beginners
Here's how the movie website "Rotten Tomatoes" describes the plot of this critically acclaimed movie:
Beginners imaginatively explores the hilarity, confusion, and surprises of love through the evolving consciousness of Oliver (Ewan McGregor). Oliver meets the irreverent and unpredictable Anna (Mélanie Laurent) only months after his father Hal (Christopher Plummer) has passed away. This new love floods Oliver with memories of his father who - following 44 years of marriage - came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life. The upheavals of Hal's new honesty, by turns funny and moving, brought father and son closer than they'd ever been able to be. Now Oliver endeavors to love Anna with all the bravery, humor, and hope that his father taught him. 
As someone who went through the Hal (Christoper Plummer) experience at age 49, not 78, I knew I would be teary-eyed during this movie. So I wasn't surprised when I lost it during the deathbed scene and again when the son and Hal's young lover embraced. But I was surprised that I was most moved -- on the verge of sobbing -- at the last scenes of Hal's unhappy, sexually frustrated wife, standing in a doorway looking back at her young son. 'Nuff said.

The movie's portrayal of Hal in his four years of being out in the gay world before being stricken with cancer seemed a bit overdone. The contrast between the closeted, inhibited Hal and the "out," flamboyant Hal also seemed overdone. In this regard, I appreciated the more subtle, nuanced depiction of alcoholism and sobriety I found in the play, The Mother F---ker with the Hat, which I discussed in some detail two weeks ago.

Getting sober and coming out are both liberating, but they usually aren't transforming.

The Video It Gets Better
Last week I talked about the New York Times article on sex-advice columnist Dan Savage and his views about monogamy and infidelity. Dan and his husband, after reading of suicides by bullied gay teenagers, created and posted a YouTube video, It Gets Better, to reassure gay teenagers that life does improve after adolescence. The video was such a hit that it prompted about 10,000 others to upload their own "It Gets Better" stories.

I looked for the original video, found it, and loved it. It's had over 1.5 million viewers. Such an important message:

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