Were the World Mine
Were Shakespeare alive today, it would be amusing to see his reaction to the wonderful Were the World Mine. Tom Gustafson’s film focuses on gay teen Timothy (Tanner Cohen) and his life at an all-boy’s school as they prepare to stage a production of the bard’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Featuring an excellent ensemble, the fantasy musical sees Timothy gaining the power to force the inhabitants of his town to experience life in his shoes. Anyone who comes into contact with his love-in-idleness flower immediately falls in love with the next person of the same sex they see. Timothy uses it to gain love, exact revenge and offer much-needed education to his classmates, teachers and neighbors – though not without the consequences of altering the way a person loves. It’s a nice riff on gay-to-straight conversion, and comes with similar emotional pitfalls. With a catchy, upbeat soundtrack, Were The World Mine offers a tale of gay empowerment in the face of homophobia, wrapped up in song, costume and enchantment. It’s whimsical, endearing, and ultimately feel-good – a stark and welcome contrast to many of the darker films on our list. –RM
The Wise Kids
You don’t know who Stephen Cone is, do you? It’s a crime. His 2011 indie, The Wise Kids, is a coming-of-age sleeper showpiece. Cone, who wrote, directed and takes on the role of a closeted South Carolina pastor, captures the reality of three teens with immeasurable respect and heart. Whether it’s the pastor’s daughter (Molly Kunz) who is starting to question her faith, the boy (Tyler Ross) taking his first steps out of the closet, or the third of these three wise kids (Allison Torem) who insists that her God is an awesome God and that that’s just so awesome, Cone’s characters are stunningly genuine. And where the storyteller might be tempted to mock for comic relief, Cone refuses to pander. Instead of short cuts, Cone dives deeper still, giving supporting characters roles that allow each to steal some scene or another. The result is this quietly stunning film that everyone should see, a movie as simply satisfying as a glorious sunset, and equally as profound. –WOB
Also read the first two parts of this series
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