1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When I first saw this film at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival - probably sitting alongside the other reviewer - I was a bit disappointed because I had liked the book by Graeme Aitken so much. But watching it again now I think it does work very well in its own terms. The book is softer in tone, but the cruelty that is more apparent in the film also strikes me as being very true to life. In fact those who are victims of bullying themselves are not necessarily likely to be particularly kind to others who may be even less accepted by the cool kids than they are. Billy doesn't treat his classmate well but he does have his redeeming points, not least of which is that he can be very funny, often unintentionally. In fact he gets rejected in a similar way by the young man on whom he develops a crush, but of course at thirteen one is not quick to make these connections. I love his gender-swapping friendship with Lou and the TV show into which they imagine themselves, complete with flying saucers gliding over the beautiful New Zealand landscape and camp spacesuits and hairstyles (in the wrong gender). It can be difficult to act well when one is so unsure of one's place in the scheme of things, and the film captures these realities acutely and with a rather abrasive charm. The character of the universally rejected new boy - Roy - etches himself on the mind as a tragic figure, lost, abused and very alone. In a sense the film is a tribute to the sad purity of such youths, who are often made to suffer so for their 'oddness' in the eyes of others. And the farmhand provides some eye candy for us as well as Billy's first infatuation.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2010
I can't believe it has taken this long for this film to arrive on DVD!
The first time I saw this film was a few years ago at the London Gay & Lesbian Film Festival & it is just as fabulous now!
Funny and bittersweet, it honestly portrays coming of age and dealing with ones sexuality without avoidance of sensitive issues, tackling them face on.
Set in 70's New Zealand the film follows Billy, an overweight, effeminate 13 year-old boy, who with his cousin Lou, a tomboy star rugby player of the school, escapes into his imagination where his alter-ego Lana strives to save the universe with Brad (Lou).
The film ticks over from the point of view of the children, who are the main protagonists, aligning the viewer directly with them and allows you into the world of Billy and Lou which is exempt from adults, but has the boundaries of adulthood all around them.
This film works on so many levels and can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their sexuality, who remembers the difficulties of growing up and going through puberty.
It makes you laugh out loud, helped along by the amusing Kiwi accent, fabulous script and a faux ponytail! It also helps that there is a sexy man who provides the love interest in the film.
All in all........Fabulous!!!
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2011
The book by Graeme Aitken was funny and compelling, and despite the compelling performance by the young boy playing the lead, the film's choice to depart from a central incident in the novel and its reduction of nuance to stereotype (rugger-bugger hetero rural Kiwi masculinity drawn in luridly vulgar tones, for example) made for a rather disappointing experience.