I nearly passed up this movie. The description of it mentioned musical sequences and I don’t usually care for musicals (gay stereotypes not withstanding.) I finally decided to give it a shot last week and immediately fell in love with the movie. I like it so much that I’ve watched it at least a half dozen times over the past few days on HuluPlus, and decided to do my first review on it.
The movie is an interesting and magical take on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The overall story is somewhat formulaic: gay student at an all boys academy, who is picked on by the jocks and has a crush on the star player for the school’s Rugby team. What makes the movie special, though, is the skillful blending of the story from Shakespeare’s play into that basic story line, and the wonderful natural way that Shakespeare’s words are spoken and even sung throughout the movie.
The star of the story is Timothy, played by Tanner Cohen, and his love interest is Jonathon, played by Nathaniel David Becker. These are two gorgeous young men who can really act and sing beautifully. Timothy gets encouraged by his somewhat enigmatic drama teacher, Ms. Tebbit (Wendy Robie,) to audition for the academy’s upcoming performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He’s reluctant at first, but decides to try out anyway and nails his audition, landing the leading role as Puck, the mischievous faerie. (See the first video in the playlist, above.)
In the course of learning his parts for the play, Timothy discovers a formula to make the “Cupid’s Love Juice” potion, which will make the person exposed to it instantly fall for the first person he or she sees. During rehearsal Timothy starts spraying all of the jocks in the class with the potion, causing them to fall in love with each other, and of course causing Timothy’s heart-throb, Jonathon, to fall in love with him. Timothy also ends spraying half the town, including the Rugby coach, leading to hilarious scenarios.
In the end, Timothy releases the antidote to the love portion during the play’s performance, and the love compulsion that everyone was under is dissipated, although everyone seems to remember the feelings that they felt while under the spell. Timothy gets his love at the end, along with acceptance and recognition of his talent by the rest of the town, including his mother.
Ms. Tebbit, the drama teacher, is a bit of a mystery. The movie never makes clear just what she really is, but I was left with the suspicion that she might actually be one of the faeries from the play. She certainly seems to have magical abilities herself, and demonstrates an unusual influence over the townspeople when those not affected by the potion get upset over what they see going on around them.
One aspect of the movie that I missed the first time I watched it is that Jonathon, the Rugby jock that Timothy is in love with, has feelings himself for Timothy even before he is exposed to the love potion. There are a number of clues, which make it seem obvious once you’ve noticed them. I can’t believe that I missed them the first time I watched the movie.
The entire cast gives excellent performances. As I mentioned before, while under the spell of the love portion they all do a wonderful job of speaking Shakespeare’s words with a flow and cadence that makes his poetry seem natural and vibrant. The lyrics of most of the songs in the movies are also taken from Shakespeare’s play, and the music fits perfectly.
This is one of the best gay love stories that I have seen so far, and worth seeing on that basis alone, but if you love Shakespeare this is even more of a must see. The playlist at the beginning of this post contains the best parts of the movies, so if you haven’t seen this yet be sure to watch them.
My Rating: 10 out of 10 stars