I remember being a gay teenager at my prom. I was closeted though and too afraid to admit that I'd asked a female classmate whom I barely knew to the big dance as a mere cover up for my real fantasy- taking a guy to the dance and being gay at prom. I'd yet to come to grips with my homosexuality, so it wasn't hard to convince myself that what I did was not only appropriate but the obvious decision.
I see the world around me changing. Gay teenagers are coming out at earlier ages and gay rights have become a spotlight event on the news. So, when I sat down to watch Prom Queen by John L'Ecuyer, based on the true story of Marc Hall, I thought I had the movie pegged. There would be drama and humor (as most gay films have), overshadowed by hatred and pain.
Very soon through the film I realized how much I myself fed into the thirst for gay hate and bashing and sensationalized drama on the screen. My first thought was, "This film seems like a fantasy." There was a kid who had the strength of Superman, living with way too understanding parents in a Blue Collar town of advocates for all social causes in a school full of overflowing hormones sponsored by an institution that lived by the rules of extreme religious doctrine.
There was no obstacle our hero couldn't face. After all, he was only a teenage taking on the entire Catholic faith. Yet, the height of emotion wasn't a broken window or hate mail or fire bombs or beating in the alley, it was a seemingly frail gay teenager who used an ounce of emotion to successfully challenge the Catholic Church in the Canadian Supreme Court.
Seem plausible? I thought not at first until I realized this film was indeed a fairy tale, just like the real story which did come true. But this fantasy was not to be disregarded, but adorned like the simplification of heightened issues in films of the 80's. Where the immediate pain was detention or ruining dad's car or losing the person of your dreams with an underlying mission of greater social change. Not like now when in order for us to believe we have to see the destruction and the irreversible damage at our doorsteps. We have to shed a tear as a precursor to doing the right thing.
Director John L'Ecuyer brought me back to reality. The way it really is and should be- the middle of two extremes. Left to the interpretation of all parties involved with the hopes that in a perfect world we'll meet in the middle.
So I risk banishment, just like Marc Hall, but from the literary point of view for basing a review on message not film editing or acting ability or audience appeal and turning it into an editorial rant for gay equality.
Though in Prom Queen the aforementioned should be applauded, it was the charactered style of fairy tale myth that will propel the gay rights movement and this film forward. Back to the days of Stonewall, when we were unafraid to take on the world for the right to be gay. When risking battery and banishment and ridicule was worth something as seemingly silly as the right to wear a wig. Like Marc Hall risked his future for a slow dance with his boyfriend.
See the comedy/drama Prom Queen and while you're at it get tips on how to be gay at prom.