Dec 8, 2013

[Movies] The Curiosity of Chance (2006)

I've been steadily trying to go through my surprisingly vast queue of LGBT movies for review purposes and it has been a rather interesting experience. I've always felt that one of the biggest challenges of the LGBT movie segment is the fact that a lot of them don't get enough press or attention. Thus many go unwatched since we typically don't have any clear idea of what the movie is about.

I wandered into The Curiosity of Chance out of, well, curiosity. I mean come on, the movie poster graphic featured a kid in a top hat. I wasn't quite sure what the movie was going to be about other than a brief synopsis, so it was an interesting experience. But hey, top hat! I'll go for the top hat!

The movie is and different kind of comedy that tries to tap into the difficulty of being an out gay teen in high school. The time setting of the 1980's probably wasn't all that necessary, but it did have the nice benefit of eliminating the use of mobile phones form the narrative.

Synopsis: The Curiosity of Chance is an LGBT comedy written and directed by Russell P. Marleau. It received a number of nominations and awards including winning the Best Narrative Feature at The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival.

It's the 1980's and Chance (Tad Hilgenbrinck) is the new student at Brickland International High School. Chance is a distinct sense of style that he truly pushes by going to school in a suit with a top hat. Even in Europe, that kind of a get up is sure to attract negative attention and this comes in the form of the football player Brad (Maxim Maes). But things aren't a total loss when he manages to make friends with Hank (Pieter Van Nieuwenhuyze), a photographer who carries around a mysterious locked case, and Twyla (Aldevina Da Silva).

He also manages to catch the jock living next door getting dressed, and totally develops a major crush. But Levi (Brett Chukerman) is still a jock and thus stands by as his friends continue to make fun of Chance. But Chance does find a bit of an escape at a local drag bar. There he tries to explore more about himself and discovers new things about himself. All this as he deals with his military father and all the other complications of young gay life.

The movie blatantly ties together the difficulties of being the new kid at school and being the out teen. I don't quite see why the movie had to be set in some version of Europe given the only venues that we see in this movie are limited to the school, Chance's house and the drag bar for the most part. Setting aside, this is ultimately a character-driven story and the venue doesn't really matter. The movie was also set in the 80's, which was presented in terms of some of the fashion choices and the music, but not much else.

At the end of the day the story is sort of timeless or appropriate to pretty much any period since coming out was a thing.

It's interesting to note that Tad Hilgenbrinck was the same guy who played Matt Stifler in American Pie Presents Band Camp - as in the try-hard player kid who was trying to imitate his brother. So from overconfident douche to determined gay teen - that's an interesting range. He wasn't necessarily amazing in the role, but he did pretty well for himself.

The movie has a lot going on with the different characters and their motivations, but never really has the time to fully explore things. Yes, Chance is still the primary character that we need to follow around. And thus we really shouldn't have had too many auxiliary characters. I think the only characters that I wish we had learned more about were Chance's family. For the most part they were just background characters who acted based on stereotypes and not much else. Such a waste.

The Curiosity of Chance isn't the greatest queer movie around, but it's not necessarily a bad one. It's ultimately a poignant tale that ends rather well and leaves you feeling hopeful for dear Chance. Thus the movie rates 3 unusual outfits used in the movie out of a possible 5.

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