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Get Real

Director: Simon Shore
Writer: Patrick Wilde
Paramount Classics; R; 110 minutes
Release:4/99
Cast: Ben Silverstone, Brad Gorton, Charlotte Brittain

The last thing a filmmaker wants is a production that garners unfavorable comparison to an earlier movie. Such is the case with Get Real, a British coming-out story pairing together the high school jock and sensitive nerd. If the plot sounds familiar, it's because 1997's British film Beautiful Thing did it first.

Get Real benefits from a strong cast, especially Ben Silverstone. Silverstone plays Steven, a cruisy teen comfortable with his homosexuality who fears public reaction. After passing anonymous notes in a public restroom, Steven learns that he's been flirting with John, the school's sex-symbol jock. The rich Oxford-bound stud melts into timidity when faced with his sexual identity. Coming-out is never a pleasant process, and while their budding relationship is beset with passionate pitfalls, the supporting society has been directed into an oversimplified format. The homophobes are drawn too harshly and thereby easily written off; the female characters drip with syrupy compassion. While Beautiful Thing delivered a believable coming-out story, its younger sibling Get Real remains more compelling than most American films on the subject.


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