Photo courtesy of GAT Productions.
It’s Day 4 of Inside Out and of Torontoist’s coverage of the the annual queer film festival. There’s a bunch of films on today, including Make the Yuletide Gay, starring Degrassi alum and fab cover boy Adamo Ruggiero. Torontoist caught Israeli sizzler Antarctica, which is sort of a queered-up feature-length version of Metropia, in Hebrew. There’s sexy boys (and even the odd lesbian) to look at, but the plot is both meandering and banal, and the fleshy eyefuls aren’t enough to keep the yawns at bay. Much more worthy of your attention is Drool, a 2008 American film starring Mulholland Drive‘s absolutely gorgeous Laura Harring.
Once again, Harring plays a seemingly helpless and weak woman with a Sapphic dynamo buried somewhere inside her. Anora Fleece is a meek housewife and mother of two bratty kids: angsty teenager Tabby and her younger brother, Little Pete. Worse is her racist, abusive husband, Cheb. But Anora’s life takes a turn for the interesting when Imogene Cochran, a fiercely charismatic cosmetic saleswoman, moves in next door. The next thing she knows, Anora has become Imogene’s lover and is embarking on a road trip with her and her children (not to mention Cheb’s body, which is stuffed into the trunk of Imogene’s lavender “Kathy K” car).
While the subject matter is assuredly black comedy, the tone is often light and whimsical in a very endearing way. Animated sequences based on Tabby’s notebook sketches make for fun scene transitions, and the kitschy art direction is colourful and fun to look at without ever getting Juno-annoying. Jill Marie Jones is a fast-talking wonder as Imogene, and Ashley Duggan Smith appropriately channels early Winona Ryder as Tabby, a girl who wears too much eyeliner and punches her best friend Princess in the face after she catches her giving her ex-boyfriend a blowjob in the school washroom. But it’s truly Laura Harring who holds the film together with her absolutely lovely performance as Anora. She’s gorgeous without ever being a bimbo and manages to find a lot of comedic moments in a character most actors would play completely straight. The ending of the film is a bit abrupt; you’re kind of expecting a third act to begin, and then suddenly the credits start rolling. It’s maybe a little bit of a cop-out that the movie ends where it does, and you do leave feeling several dramatic opportunities were missed. That said, how often do you leave a movie wishing it could have been about a half an hour longer?
Make the Yuletide Gay screens at 4:30 p.m. at the Isabel Bader.
Antarctica screens at 7 p.m. at the Isabel Bader.
Drool screens at 9:45 p.m. at the Isabel Bader.