Quite why Dorian Blues, Tennyson Bardwell's understated coming-out drama, has been released now is puzzling. It's five years and a few random days since the film played cinemas with decent reviews and little fanfare, and there's no sudden sea change or relevant homosexual hook to explain the belated arrival of this DVD. Perhaps Bardwell simply wasn't as speedy in his coming out as his eponymous gay teen.

To recap: Dorian Blues details the angst and regular rites of passage endured by Dorian Lagatos (Michael McMillian), a nervy, shy teen who one day realises he bats for the less fashionable side. Blocking his path out from the closet to glorious self-fulfilment are a macho, football-playing brother, a super-conservative father and classically homophobic school bullies. Does Dorian eventually find the courage to admit his sexual orientation to all and sundry? Take a guess. Are there slips and stumbles, euphoric tears and noble courage? But, of course.

Copy picture

Thankfully, and less obviously, Bardwell's movie also has a natty self-deprecating tone, making it all much more pleasurable. As he himself admits, Dorian is the classic gay cliché: think awkward clothes, girly gestures and a valuable life lessons in NYC. When he finally breaks the news to his father, Dorian's Pop just laughs in his face; the bathos is unexpected, and a relief from the more standard fire- or waterworks such scenes tend to end in. Elsewhere are regular comic moments, with Dorian wringing wry, blithe humour from his alienation, and enjoying the discomfort his newfound candid honesty causes.

Such is the charm of Dorian Blues - an indie slow-burn that seems much better suited to nachos, pyjamas and stop-start sofa viewing, those automonous pleasures offered alone by DVDs. The small disc format also affords the tempting option to bypass some of the film's less captivating or clumsier scenes in favour of the subtler moments of Dorian's emancipation. You'll notice more of the careful minutiae Bardwell lends his character, and be pleasantly moved by scenes where our courageous hero suffers for his battle. Most of all, you'll laugh fondly at the well-constructed scrapes Dorian finds himself in.

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2009
Share this with others on...
Dorian Blues packshot
A shy teen copes with coming of age and coming out.
Amazon link

Director: Tennyson Bardwell

Writer: Tennyson Bardwell

Starring: Michael McMillian, Lea Coco, Steve Fletcher, Mo Quigley, John Abele, Austin Basis, Ryan Kelly Berkowitz, Richard Burke, Chris Dallman, Carl Dana

Year: 2004

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Search database: