Apparently, I started an unplanned tradition when I wrote my previous review of the movie, Dorian Blues a couple weeks ago. This past weekend, I decided to watch the 2005 movie, FAQs, and I find myself with the desire to similarly review it.
First of all, let me just say that producer Everett Lewis did an excellent job in this movie. It’s a truly moving tale about a group of gay men (and one young lesbian, though she plays such a bit part, unfortunately) trying to not only survive in the face of the hate directed towards them, but to be themselves and thrive because of it. India — a young man living on the streets of LA after his homophobic parents disowned him — is rescued from a pair of gaybashers by an old drag queen, Destiny. Destiny gives India a home and begins to teach him to protect, love, and respect himself. Destiny, India, and Lester (a young lesbian Destiny similarly saved and “adopted” in years past) are soon joined by Spencer, who becomes India’s main love interest in throughout the rest of the movie. The plot of the movie then revolves around the dual themes of “saving” India’s would-be bashers (who turn out to be closeted queers themselves) and India trying to convince Spencer to give up on his plan to kill his parents, who had abused him until he ran away. These dual themes perfectly frame the central message of the film: Love conquers all if you just give it a chance. One of my favorite quotes from the movie was when India tells Spencer, “Our kisses are like bombs going off in the straight world.”
Of course, the movie itself had plenty of “bombs.” There are several highly erotic scenes in which various boys are shown caressing, kissing, and rubbing up against one another. And while no genital contact is shown (though there are a few scenes involving full frontal nudity in non-sexual settings), I imagine that this might be a bit “explosive” for some viewers. (Personally, as someone who often wryly jokes about “gratuitous straight sex scenes” in most movies, I found it a nice change.)
One of the problems that I had with this movie, however, was that it was too optimistic. There were several potentially dangerous scenes (some of which were created by an overly-optimistic India who tended to make unwise decisions) in which someone could have died, yet everyone made it through the movie virtually unscathed. The particular scene which bothered me was when Quentin — one of the bashers from the start of the movie — shows up at the boys’ home with a gun after having gotten their address off his answering machine from a message India told Guy to leave. Considering that the movie had been building up a highly distrought Quentin — who not only held a gun under his chin at one point, but also was shown firing said gun at a roadside sign fantasizing about killing his former friend “turned fag” — it just seemed like a poor climax. It also sends the message that doing something stupid like giving your home address to a known basher — even one you think is really gay and needs to be “saved from himself” — is okay. It’s not. It’s dangerous, and it’s stupid. So Lewis gets points taken off for being too optimistic and implicitly encouraging needless and foolish risk-taking.
In closing, I would like to say that I particularly liked the final scene. Without giving too much away, I will just say that I found it appropriately cyclical.