Outfest closed out this summers festival with a lovely movie called Freak Show, marking the directorial debut of Trudie Styler. Based on the 2007 novel by James St. James, the story follows the teenage years of Billy Bloom, a funny, good-hearted, cross-dressing teen who becomes the new student at an ultra-conservative high school. Although accosted with Bible believing cheerleaders, the jocks, the bullies, Billy takes a stand. Determined to be who he is and not bow to peer pressure, he refuses to change his outlandish outfits or behavior. Instead, he decides to run for Homecoming Queen for <more>
outcasts and underdogs everywhere. Within this framework Billys life revolves around these relationships: his mother, father, Flip Kelly, Blah, Blah. Blah she talks so fast he never quite gets her name and Florence. But let's talk about Billy. As played by Alex Lawther last seen in the Imitation Game this is performance nothing less than Oscar worthy. He is in every scene and he plays Billy with such conviction starting with the fact he British that it is often painful to watch. His face is nothing less than a canvas on which to draw whatever emotion is required; in some scenes, he almost seems to become a mime channeling Guiletta Masina look her up! . It is powerful performance and even as it is about being fabulous "I normally take being-over dramatic as a compliment" he always has something behind the look that feels real and vulnerable. There is no shortage of teenage films about high school from Rebel Without a Cause to Twilight and the cruelty encountered in those years. It is legendary and in Freak Show, there is ample violence, bullying and harassment to make one feel very uncomfortable—and that may be its point. As diercted by Trudie Styler it never crosses that line of being didactic or message-driven, it simply tells the story with grace. With appearances by Bette Midler, Abigail Breslin, Laverne Cox, John McEnroe, Larry Pine and most notably Celia Weston as Florence, Freak Show seems perfect for the moment. A film about standing ground in the face of adversity, being true to one's self at all costs, Freak Show was the perfect way to end a film festival about the diverse and the changing landscape of the LGBT community.
At last! The Bullied Strikes Back! (by imdb-21-51116)
Alex Lawther gives to the bullies as good as he gets.It's 2018, but bullying is still alive and well. People still can't stand anyone who is different. Can a film help change that?There have certainly been other films on the topic, such as the recent "Love, Simon." But this time, the bullied bullies back. Bullies don't scare him. Love? Well that's another question.Alex Lawther is fierce as Billy, and Bette Midler is fabulous as always as his mother. Together, they make the film as funny as it is fun. Don't regret your inner "freak": celebrate <more>
it!Hopefully, Billy -- and Alex -- are getting ready for Return of the Bullies. :
This movie, even being shot quite brightly, in a classic teenage style and without dark sulky mood, makes people think about serious things. Unlike Un Bacio of Ivan Cotroneo, the end is happy, but unfortunately the real end of real gay people can be quite sad. I hope the world goes towards tolerance, and thanks to such movies as well.
"The nail that sticks out gets hammered down" (by Red-125)
Freak Show 2017 was directed by Trudie Styler. It stars Alex Lawther as Billy Bloom, who arrives on his first day at a new high school dressed as Boy George. We are to understand that this conservative school is in the South. Why would it be called Ulysses S. Grant High School? In any case, what happens to Billy in fiction is all too similar to what really happens to students who are different from the norm-- they get bullied, they get hurt, and they become isolated. However, Billy won't give in. The plot really starts when Billy decides to run for Homecoming Queen.This is an <more>
interesting movie with solid acting, including that by superstar Bette Midler as Billy's mother.However, you need to be aware that the movie has Young Adult Novel written all over it. And, indeed, it's based on a YA novel by James St. James.Just because a movie is based on a YA novel doesn't mean that it doesn't have interest or value. I enjoyed the film, which had great costumes and some clever plot twists. It isn't the most subtle film in the series, but it's worth seeing. It will work almost as well on the small screen. We saw this movie in the excellent Dryden Theatre at Rochester's George Eastman Museum. It was shown as the Closing Night Feature of ImageOut, the great LGBT Film Festival. This was the NYS Premiere screening. How does ImageOut carry that off?
At the start of the movie Billy Bloom Alex Lawther does come across as being a little too fabulous in his behavior and appearance. I can see why that would be off-putting to many people. And possibly that was the point. We judge others based on first impressions which are almost always superficial because we don't have anything more to consider. Billy's parents are separated and each show only a shallow, mostly hands-off interest in their son. Florence, the housekeeper, is passively sympathetic and protective, but unable to be meaningfully supportive. Billy is essentially alone and <more>
coping with his confused sense of self by being as provocatively freakish as he can be.When Billy starts at a new school, he deliberately alienates himself from the other students by letting his "freak flag fly" in the most flamboyant way imaginable. He is understandably the target of bullying both trivial and physical.Then, for reasons not easily understood, he attracts the friendship of one of the school's most popular, decidedly straight, male students, Flip Kelly Ian Nelson . Flip becomes the catalyst that helps Billy tone down his provocative, defiant and flamboyant behavior because he is possibly the first person in Billy's life who appears to care for the person beneath all the make-up and glitter.Yes, the movie is filled with a supporting cast of stereotypical characters, but stereotypes exist for a reason and the exceptional characters are significant because they stand apart. While Billy is purportedly the stellar example of an exceptional person, the most meaningful, influential and exceptional character was Flip Kelly.Great performance by Alex Lather, but Ian Nelson's acting was "exceptionally" good. Bette Midler lent her name to the cast listing but her appearance in the movie was largely insignificant.
This is the 3rd movie/series i review in the last month where Alex Lawther is a lead .. such a talent !! (by Aktham_Tashtush)
So this is the 3rd time this month i write a review where the lead is Alex Lawther ,, i mean before even start talking about the plot and all ,, i'm going to head into the cast , The casting was just amazing , Alex Lawther is a huge star in the making ,, i said it before he reminds me of James Mcavoy , his facial expressions !!! his sense of engagement with the scene .. Of course the other members of the cast were really good,, but man this guy just popped like the freak he wanted us to see.Back to the plot ,, it is partially original ,, southern high school drama dealing with the new <more>
coming glamours/fabulous student who wants to challenge everybody by nominating himself for homecoming queen and in the background dealing with his family issues and conflicts,, although the story is not 100% genuine it has an original execution.. even the comedy was stable quick and original which i think made the whole movie look fresh.Final thought, Hugely recommended.