Dream Boy (2008)

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Dream Boy: Directed by James Bolton. With Stephan Bender, Thomas Jay Ryan, Diana Scarwid, Tom Gilroy. Chronicles the relationship between two gay teenagers in the rural south in the late ’70s.

“People watch movies for different reasons. Some people like an elaborate, fast-paced plot. Others enjoy the visual and audio experience. I am the kind of movie watcher who enjoys a well executed and consistent tone and mood. In u0026quot;Dream Boy,u0026quot; the mood is both melancholy and sweet and there is a constant, if not always apparent, hint of anxiety and apprehension that builds throughout the movie. Capturing a mood is very difficult, and it relies on a number of factors including acting, cinematography, and music. While the acting of the supporting cast in u0026quot;Dream Boyu0026quot; can be somewhat inconsistent, the acting of the two main characters, Roy (Max Roeg) and Nathan (Stephan Bender), is very strong. I was particularly impressed with Bender whose performance reminds me of Gabourey Sidibe in u0026quot;Precious.u0026quot; While it is true that the awkward, inarticulate teenager is well-trod territory in gay cinema, Iu0026#39;ve never seen the role acted so flawlessly. I was completely convinced that Bender was Nathan. Here we have a rare example of the kind of role that doesnu0026#39;t seem u0026quot;actedu0026quot; at all; itu0026#39;s as if Bender embodies the character. Sadly, I think actors with roles that are over-the-top, histrionic, and melodramatic often get the most praise, but it seems equally if not more difficult to portray a shy, introverted character, and the actors who really nail these roles often donu0026#39;t get the recognition they deserve (re: Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain). Iu0026#39;ve read some criticism that Benderu0026#39;s performance was u0026quot;wooden,u0026quot; and it strikes me that if you were not an awkward, inarticulate teenager you might not be able to identify with the performance, but if you were the kind of kid who stayed inside most of the day you will probably find the portrayal of your former self incredibly accurate and moving.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThere is a lot of attention paid to subtle, non-verbal forms of communication – glances, stares, half-smiles, physical contact – all of which create a much more realistic depiction of young, gay love than the more chatty gay coming-of-age movies that Iu0026#39;m used to seeing. All of that being said, I understand the disappointment with the ambiguous denouement, but plots are relatively tangential for me. If the actors and director manage to depict a convincing mood, then that is all I need to be satisfied, and they have certainly done that with u0026quot;Dream Boy.u0026quot;”


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