Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Different Story

Well, this is definitively a controversial film with a controversial story, especially for what’s happening today in America and the world. As a matter of fact when I read the synopsis I was quite repelled, but then I found out it was based on a true story and decided to give it a try with very low expectations. What triggered my curiosity was that the main female character, Stella, was “inspired” by a real life then well known American actress of the 60s that faded out in the later decades with constant but forgettable roles mainly on TV.

I have to say that with my very low expectations, this was a surprise for me, as I did enjoy this B-movie well beyond what I imagined. Especially when I compare it with other B-movies I have seen lately, as this 1978 film is really superior and is quite a surprise that in 1978 producers dared to do a movie with this theme, that nobody wants to touch nowadays.

Before I tell you about what’s all about, have to share that I know in real life quite a few people that had similar experiences (no deportation involved) in those so different –to-today decades (60s and 70s), none lived in America and most were doom to fail and eventually did, but most maintained they marriage for whatever personal reasons.

The story is about a gay man that marries a lesbian to avoid deportation back to Belgium, but they fall for each other, have a child and live happily ever after… well, after a very unrealistic incident. And I remark “unrealistic” as even when most of the story reflects a familiar to me reality, the twists and turns of the end are remarkably unrealistic in what Variety calls “severe script problem” and gee, I couldn’t agree more.

In a way the basic story for me is very similar to Gérard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell Green Card, except that in Green Card the end is adequate and sort of believable, while in A Different Story is not. Then actors in the Green Card are excellent performers, while actors in ADS were in 1978 not really well known, but have to accept that their performances -for that decade- are quite good, especially Perry King when his character was not “straight”.

I insist that for younger generations that have very little idea of what was going on 30/40 years ago, this film will be very controversial with what today are called “stereotypes” portraits of gays and lesbians (but in the so diverse community, there are many alike to the characters) and definitively is one movie that you do not need to see unless you feel like taking a glimpse of what was real life for some in those decades and wish to realize how time has change the lives of many.

Me, I’m glad I decided to give it a try, as definitively it was a surprise and made me recall stuff that all of us tend to forget and sometimes is good to be recalled how much things have changed and how much things still have to change.

Still, this is a true B-movie that in 1978 was rated R and today is not more than PG and suited to be shown on those TV channels like Lifetime; but I know that any of those channels will dare to broadcast the movie, as they do not want to infuriate today’s gay/lesbian community.

So, my best suggestion is that if you decide to give it a try, watch it at your own risk!


Please Note: Couldn't find the trailer even when the DVD has the theatrical trailer.

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