›› Dream On
a film by Lloyd Eyre-Morgan.
2013 | 95 mins | UK.
principal players: Bradley Cross / Paul, Joe Gosling / George, Janet Bamford / Denise, Emily Spowage / Angharad, Matthew Seber / Norman, Annie Wallace / Barmaid and Mark Hill as Larry.
Adapted Synopsis: "Polar opposite teenagers Paul and George meet and fall in love on a campsite in Wales during the summer of '88. The young lovers make a pact to return the following summer and run away together, but when only Paul shows up, he vows to find his young lover and sets off with his newfound best friend Angharad in tow. Yet with his overbearing mother Denise not far behind, is happiness for the two set to be the impossible dream?"
In many ways comparisons between this film and the Jonathan Harvey classic Beautiful Thing are but inevitable, given both are UK productions, both are based on a successful stage play, in this instance writer and director Lloyd Eyre-Morgan's own work and both feature the foundation theme of "making your own kind of music." Indeed the list of similarities between the two are all too apparent and here cue the domineering but loving mother, the gay friendly girl next door, let alone a pair of teenage boys, one more confident than the other, who come to fall head over heels in love with each other. Yet this is far from being a mirror version of such a beautiful thing, given here the lush Mama Cass soundtrack gives way to the sounds of the '80s, reverberating a film rooted in the reality of life and in particular come its emotional conclusion.
For like such films as Get Real, Like It Is and Shank to name but three, this is a feature with a distinct raw edge to it, one that I personally like, being quintessentially Brit drama through and through. For here Bradley Cross as Paul is every inch the all too innocent, ever nervous northerner from Rochdale, yearning to experience life outside of the overly protective clutches of a mother forever living in fear of being left alone in the world, (Janet Bamford on fine form), a character that is nicely juxtaposed by Joe Gosling's "Jack the lad" persona of George; that of a Londoner all too aware of the hard knocks of life.
A goodbye kiss in Dream On.
Sure, there's a few negatives in the mix, including the odd section that just didn't seem to flow right. But that said, this is equally a work full of passion; wonderfully charting the optimism of youth, that of the hopes and dreams of two young men over the course of a summer holiday and beyond. Added to which, there's some neat comic touches, thanks largely to Emily Spowage as Angharad; aka the mother figure of the piece, with Paul's growth in self-confidence during the film, a delight to see.
Tender moments between the boys in Dream On.
Refreshingly set for the main part in the seaside resort of Towyn, Wales and played with a deliberately small cast, albeit one that finds almost all of the principal actors joyfully reprise their stage roles, this is a film that notably differs in its finale when compared to the play, having cinematically taken a far darker path. But it's a more realistic one, having played on Paul's somewhat naïve view of life. In short, this is a fresh and vibrant variant on the coming-of-age theme, complete with many a sweet 'n' tender moment between the boys, (the "you need to burn a bit brighter" starlight scene is particularly poignant), as the two come to spend ever increasing time together. Well played throughout, I dare say that some may prefer the more idealistic ending of the play, yet the conclusion on offer here is far more real and thereby all the more touching. And there are signs of such neatly coded in this "message in a bottle" feature, with the comic book feel to the film, beautifully handled.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.