May 14, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Get Real

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
110 minutes
performer
Brad Gorton, Ben Silverstone
director
Simon Shore
distributor
Paramount Classics
genre
Romance, Comedy, Gay and Lesbian
We gave it a B+

Like 1996’s Beautiful Thing, this sensitive, inviting British drama about a couple of gay teenagers fumbling toward self-knowledge began life as a theater piece. But while Thing took place in a working-class housing project, this coming-of-age story is set in an upscale high school — and also in a public toilet, where Steven (Ben Silverstone), who has always been aware of his homosexuality, connects with schoolmate John (Brad Gorton), a popular athlete confused by his desires and terrified to have his secret known. (The jock dates the prettiest girl in town.)

Writer Patrick Wilde and director Simon Shore sometimes settle for the simplified and the cliched in Get Real: The young men’s parents, in various states of cluelessness, are as generic as those in John Hughes movies, while Steven’s confidante is the kind of fat, lively, dramatique girl every gay boy in a movie seems to need. (Beautiful Thing co-opted one, too.) But Wilde and Shore also effectively convey many of the fears, thrills, and subterfuges gay adolescents must handle without benefit of encouragement. And Silverstone (thin and pale) and Gorton (tall and strapping) are terrific as young lovers in an environment where love equals danger. B+

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