Queer As Film Folk

Ostracized, Vincent falls into a depression. Harassed at swim practice, he stops going, thereby endangering his chances for a college athletic scholarship. He tries the bar-cruising scene but recoils from the aggressive attention he receives. Slowly, however, his fortunes change. His family and friends begin to rally around him. His parents come to terms with his sexuality, his swimming coach (Bernard Blancan) urges him to stand up against the team's homophobic vitriol, and, step by awkward step, he begins to reinvent his relationship with Noémie. Eventually Vincent learns some life lessons (this was made for television, after all) about being proud of who he is.

You'll Get Over It takes the all-too-familiar situations of teen sexual harassment and emerging identity and spins them into a perfectly believable and engaging tale. Instead of demonizing the homophobes and stereotyping the parents and teachers, all these characters are given their due as they struggle with their feelings and prejudices. Directed with relaxed assurance by the veteran Cazeneuve, the film features fluid camerawork from cinematographer Stephan Massis and well-paced, dynamic editing from Jean-Pierre Bloc. The mostly young cast is quite appealing, fresh, intelligent, and entirely plausible. The result is a film that's more thoughtful than sensual, and quietly charming. -- Ronald Mangravite

You'll Get Over It plays on Saturday, April 26, at 9:30 p.m. at the Regal Cinema South Beach, 1100 Alton Rd, Miami Beach

In Sex, Politics & Cocktails, there's not a lot of politics
In Sex, Politics & Cocktails, there's not a lot of politics
When women started rockin', it helped roll in grrrl power
When women started rockin', it helped roll in grrrl power

L.A. Cool

Two movies set in Los Angeles break the mold from other recent ones set in same, ones like, say, Broken Hearts Club. To paraphrase a line from that film, it was about a bunch of beautiful tens looking for elevens in West L.A. Sex, Politics & Cocktails and Luster have quirkier or more troubled characters living far from the world of the tens.

Sex, Politics & Cocktails is truly a strange, short burst of exuberance. It's a first film from writer/director/lead actor Julien Hernandez, who, as Sebastian Cortez, is a Cuban American born in Jersey. He breaks from his conservative family to become a filmmaker in Hollywood, where he's asked to make a documentary about gay life. But he doesn't really know any gays. His best friend does, though, and she invites him into the world. At a party she gives fueled by margaritas, she suggests the reason Sebastian hasn't had a real relationship in his 30 years of life is because he's been trying out the wrong gender. So far, so pretty typical. But Hernandez's take on the late-age coming-out story is refreshing.

Hernandez looks like a kind of goofy Ben Stiller, with moussed, tousled hair and vintage clothing, and a really infectious smile. Somehow, this character is believable in spacing out on his sexuality for 30 years. He seems funnily unconcerned with the notion that maybe he should test-drive men. After the party, he checks out a sports bar where he has his first bathroom encounter with a muscled-up black man. Back in the bar, he runs into his old Jersey girlfriend and her husband, both wonderfully horrible. Other gay characters from the first party also get storylines, but it is Hernandez you want to watch drink and giggle his way through the movie. When he mistakes the next black man in his life for a waiter, going so far as to pay him, then finds out he is the one throwing this nice shindig, well, it's just an odd humor moment. The film ends much sooner than you think, and then there is some added-on silliness that didn't need to be there, but Hernandez has served up a feel-good treat in an offbeat way.

Luster is a darker film, taking place in a punk L.A. of the early Nineties, a queer punk L.A. Jackson (Justin Herwick) is the lead punk, blue-haired and lusting after everything -- except those lusting after him, who include the owner of the record store he works at, Sam (Shane Powers), and store-regular Derek (Sean Thibodeau). Jackson is into Billy (Jonah Bleckman) from the other night's orgy, and his own straight cousin Jeb (B. Wyatt) just in from Iowa (okay, that's pushing it a bit). There are ample doses of skate-punk dialogue, black humor, and a soundtrack that give the film street cred.

When rock star Sonny (Willie Garsen from Sex and the City) decides he wants Jackson's poetry for his songs, and then also wants whoever is inspiring such desire, things start to get weirder. What used to be just playing around gets uglier, and raw emotions get scratched. But this film from Everett Lewis is not at all jaded; Jackson does have a heart and his skate-rat demeanor can't hide it. -- Anne Tschida

Sex, Politics & Cocktails plays at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29 at the Regal South Beach Cinema

Luster plays at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 at Cinema Paradiso.

Grrrl Music Power

Years before there was a k.d. lang, Melissa Etheridge, or an Indigo Girl, there were pioneering singers from the 1970s like Cris Williamson, Meg Christian, and Holly Near. Openly lesbian and willing to forge a path of their own in the male-dominated music world, the three latter singers found themselves as de facto leaders of the musical subgenre known as women's music that suddenly grew up around them.

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