The Gymnast Reel Affirmations 16: Washington DC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Date: Friday, 10/20/2006
Time: 7:00 pm

Venue: Lincoln Theatre
Tickets: $9 Buy tickets online

Type: Feature presentation

Metro Weekly Rating: (4 out of 5)

by Kristina Campbell

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL meets 1995's lesbian offering When Night Is Falling in the artistic and visually compelling The Gymnast. Jane (Dreya Weber) is a 43-year-old beefy former gymnast grappling with aging issues -- both in her long-delayed desire to have a baby and in society's perception of her. Her love for gymnastics is rekindled and taken to new heights when she is recruited for an aerial performance. While training, she meets the lovely Serena (Addie Yungmee), a closeted lesbian to whom the heterosexually married Jane is immediately attracted.

In the shared experience of the physical and emotional intensity of their training, the two women grow closer and a relationship develops, pushing Jane to question her marriage to her rather cold husband David (David De Simone, who died early this year and in whose memory the film is dedicated). While the physical feats shown in the film are stunning, actress Weber's overly developed upper body is at times a distraction. When she dresses up and dons cosmetics to attend an event, she looks like a beefy dyke in formalwear and make-up, not a prettied-up straight former athlete.

Meanwhile, the indisputably feminine Yungmee's occasional verbal outbursts grate on the nerves a bit, but are also sometimes funny -- when a photographer keeps nudging her to open her eyes wider she yells in exasperation, ''I'm Asian, you idiot!'' Similarly, Jane reunites with an old gymnastics friend, Denise (Allison Mackie), whose character traits are alternately annoying and amusing, but whose bisexuality and related prodding are pivotal to Jane reaching the point of making a move on Serena. The Gymnast has its vexing moments, but is ultimately sharp and entertaining. -- KC

More information

Film Links:
· Reel Affirmations details
· Internet Movie Database

Festival Venue:
Lincoln Theatre
1215 U Street, NW; Washington, DC 20009. (202) 328-6000. (map)
Directly across from Green Line Metro / U Street-Cardozo station.

You may buy your tickets or passes in advance: Online at or by phone at (800) 494-TIXS (494-8497). Or you may visit the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U Street, NW, WDC); the Landmark's E Street Cinema (555 11th Street, NW); or Lambda Rising (1625 Connecticut Avenue, NW, WDC).

For more info visit the official Reel Affirmations website.