Tuesday, March 28, 2006

In & Out

1997, US, directed by Frank Oz

Kevin Kline plays beloved small-town English teacher Howard Brackett who, just three days before his wedding, finds himself outed on national TV by a former student making his Oscar acceptance speech. Howard's life is, of course, turned upside-down by this 'revelation', as he and everyone else in town tries to figure out whether he is, in fact, gay - and whether it even matters to them (with the exception of his fiancée, for whom it matters more than most). Kline is thoroughly entertaining, all awkward gestures and confusion, while the script sparkles at times (especially in the scenes featuring Howard's students and at his bachelor party, where arguments break out over the Barbra Streisand movies Howard has been showing). The supporting cast, too, is generally strong - although Joan Cusack, as the fiancée, is wearing. As my wife said , though, it's remarkable, given the set up, how completely sexless the story is. In some ways, it's as though the film completely misses the point by avoiding anything remotely sexual - and yet in other ways, that's exactly the point, that it doesn't really matter what someone does, as long as they attempt to be a decent human being.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States