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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

entry arrow5:43 AM | Tenderness and Nightmares

James Bolton’s film adaptation of Dream Boy [2008] is equal parts harrowing domestic horror and tender drama. Almost every scene, aided by a great musical score, is exquisite that I’m moved to pause the film once in a while to either recoil from the tension or to consider the dreamy sweetness of the lead characters’ gestures. I read the popular book by Jim Grimsley years ago, when I was younger, in college, and still coming to terms with what I was, who I was, feeling about the world around me for what’s it’s like. The book didn’t exactly ring with immediacy for me: I was more into David Leavitt and his picture of a more metropolitan life. Grimsley’s drama set in the Deep South just did not register for me, although I did find his prose quite muscular and lyrical at the same time. But now that I’m older, I’ve seen so much more, learned so much more. I can understand the sensitive undercurrents of abuse and bullying, especially in the light of the recent suicides by young men who must have gone through variations of this very real theme. The film is strong and urgent but does not pander. And yet it still packs quite an emotional wallop. I am simply moved by it. I also like Diana Scarwid’s Vivian, the boy’s mother, and her quiet struggle as she tries to battle with the white elephant in the room — that her husband is a molester of his own child. In the middle of all that horror, we also have a love story brewing between Roy and Nathan, something unexpected but completely real. There is no false note to their regard for each other, and that sleigh of dramatic hand is owed to the performances of Stephan Bender and Maximillian Bender, who embody their characters so well it is difficult to see the acting. To juggle all these requires a cinematic magician. I guess director Bolton is one. This is a fine film that should be seen by everybody.

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