a film by Jesse Rosen
2008 | 72 mins | US
›› The Art of Being Straight
being straight, being gay - who says you have to choose?
The Art of Being Straight by Jesse Rosen Recently parted from his girlfriend, carefree Jon heads straight to Los Angeles for a fresh start in both life and love. Moving in with college buddy Andy and in turn his beer-drinking, girl-chasing, frat style friends, it isn't long before Jon catches up with 'long time, no see' old flame Maddy, only to discover that he isn't the only one who likes girls!

Then again, few things in life are Black and White, as Jon is set to discover when in getting a job at an advertising agency, he is soon to find himself on the receiving end of predatory boss Paul; an older gay man willing to help Jon turn his photographic dreams into reality, just as long as they can talk about it over a glass of wine back at his place. Only will 'are you sure you're not gay?' Jon succumb to Paul's manly charms? And for that matter, is girl loving Maddy really starting to fall for the bearded physique of her new neighbour, given things are clearly not as straight - forward as what they appear to be!

The Art of Being Straight by Jesse Rosen Yes you're guessed it, for this is a work that charts the Kinsey scale of human sexuality and inparticular those who lie somewhere in between the perfect six and zero. Yet here, first time writer, director and star Jesse Rosen / Jon is charismatically upstaged by Rachel Castillo who shines as Maddy, one minute portraying the joint smoking, sarcastic bitch from hell and the next, the caring gal not afraid to tell "maybe I am gay" Jon to not say it - "like it's a disease."

That both come to question their role in life, let alone their sexuality, are the foundation stones of this work. Only here Rosen notably pulls back from delivering a clear-cut verdict, preferring instead to offer a non-ending of sorts. Thankfully Johnny Ray Rodriguez as Paul adds some spice to the mix, but even his character is questionable, given is he really the 'forever trying to seduce his male employees' caricature he portrays or a man who this time around, thinks he may just have found 'the one.'

And that's the crux of this feature, given nothing and indeed no one is what they seem, with even the macho jocks of the piece whilst vocally homophobic, of dubious sexuality and here cue a series of telling signs. But then, this is not a film about a gay man 'playing it straight.' Rather it is a work that goes out of its way to question the nature of so-called sexual normality, even if it never appears to get to grips with the identity traits of being straight, gay or bisexual. That said, it remains high on charm, if low on budget, with the whole ambiguous approach to life reminiscent of the Amnon Buchbinder feature Whole New Thing, given in this age of sexual pigeonholes, who says you have to choose? Or to put it another way and as Sal Mineo once famously said: "I like them all - men I mean ... and a few chicks now and then." Ah that's life!
available on DVD as part of the TLA Releasing UK catalogue
starring: Jesse Rosen, Rachel Castillo, Jared Grey, Johnny Ray Rodriguez, Pete Scherer, Jesse Janzen,
Tyler Jenich, Bryan McGowan, Emilia Richeson, Jen Zaborowski, Alan LaPolice, Anne Reeder
Copyright 2009 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #231
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