I'm on the UK Gay Romance blog today talking about one of my favourite gay British films and why it has a special place in my heart. Over there it's got a trailer, and some pictures. The text is repeated here on my blog.
This is the first in a series of posts I’ve agreed to do about some of my favourite British Gay films. OK, so they may not be as glossy and sweeping as American gay films. They may not have the high budgets, sun-kissed backgrounds and perfect chiselled torsos either. But there’s something so realistic and normal which I love about British films which I love.
Everyone’s heard of Beautiful Thing – a working class, urban fairytale. Don’t worry, I’ll do another post about that. But who’s heard of Get Real? It’s a middle class, suburban fairytale released in 1999?
Get Real is about Steve, a young British geeky guy, from a prep school, as he struggles to come out, and falls in love with John, the Oxford University bound, head boy/sports captain. OK, this isn’t the only film to tell this story. But Get Real does it with a more realistic, British twist. John does fall in love back, but as it’s set in a rural town in Hampshire, coming out isn’t so easy. Not to mention little complications like John’s designer girlfriend, and Steve’s best friend Linda who’s always ready with a comeback to put most drag queens to shame.
It is in my top ten gay British films, for a number of reasons:
- It’s set and filmed in my home county, Hampshire. I grew up just over half an hour away
- I used to go to a gay youth group in Basingstoke so it has fond memories
- When I saw it, I was about the same age as the main characters, just out of secondary school. The suffocating feeling of not being able to come out at secondary school, and secretly fancying the sports team at school, really resonated with me
- It has some great lines and characters throughout
My favourite line, and one I still say with my friend Adam, whose mum still lives in the town, is ‘Nobody wants to go back to Basingstoke.’ This is from a scene when Steve complains to his best friend Linda how much he wants to return, to see John, his secret Head Boy lover. And trust me, if you’ve ever been there, it’s not a place people often hanker to return to.
When I saw the film I was pleased to recognise such sights as Basingstoke town centre and the cinema where I went to see the film on a double date with my best friend and our boyfriends. I think we were about the only people in the whole cinema. It had a very limited release outside London, and I suppose they thought they’d at least better show it in its home town – for all of a week.
There are some great characters, Linda’s sassiness and quips would give Leah from Beautiful Thing a run for her money.
Steve comes out in assembly in front of the whole school. And this being a British film, and not The Dead Poet’s Society, no one else stands up to join him.
Have you seen this film? What British gay films would you recommend, or like me to include in future blogs? I’d love to hear from you.
Liam Livings xx