›› Watercolors ‹‹

a film by David Oliveras.

2008 | 114 mins | US.

a sensitive, if bittersweet tale of first love.

Dave says:

Gay romance features strongly in this emotionally poignant tale of boys in love, from writer and director David Oliveras. And it all revolves around Daniel Wheeler (Tye Olson); Danny to his friends and in particular to his best girl friend Andy (Ellie Araiza). Yet she, together with Danny's art teacher Mrs. Martin (Karen Black) can see talent when it's before them. Only here Danny's love for drawing matches the passion that new kid about town Carter Melman (Kyle Clare) has for swimming. Yet this eye-candy styled teen into trouble and drugs, is also more than gay friendly, as Danny is set to discover when with his father away on business, Carter comes to stay for the weekend. Rapidly becoming more than just good friends, the question is not so much how long can they keep their closeted relationship a secret from the outside world, but rather how long can Carter keep the true nature of his sexuality hidden from the homophobic thugs on the school swimming team?

In many ways here I'm reminded of the Jules Nurrish short film No Ordinary Joe and the line "you know it all ends in disappointment, but there's beauty along the way." Only this is not a cinematic spoiler. For the trouble with this intense tale is the opening scene, one that signals that the burgeoning romance remembered by an older Danny (Ian Rhodes); now a successful artist in his own right, was not to be. All of which cannot help but make you question just how long will it be before the romantic bliss that follows, turns sour? The result is a narrative that intercuts Danny's relationship with his new boyfriend with the central and far more rewarding flashback story, even if it's all but apparent from the onset that such is destined to end on a deeply tragic note and of a man who seemingly cannot move on from his first love.

That said and in an inspired choice of casting, Olympic diving legend Greg Louganis makes an appearance as Carter's swimming coach, whilst the ever adorable Karen Black of too many films to list fame, is a pure delight in the role of arty Mrs Martin, just as Casey Kramer is on fine form as Danny's liberal minded mother Miriam, here making the most of her limited screen time. Then again, this is but the Danny / Carter double act, with newcomer Clare giving an emotional performance as Carter. Only it's Olson who by no surprise steals the show, achingly capturing the raw emotions of a young man as much in love with his man, as he is in love, with love itself.

Beautifully shot and executed throughout, if somewhat surreal at times and put it this way that leak in the living room really needs fixing, this delectable work with winks to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, also includes a coming out speech - with a difference. And as a sensitive, if bittersweet tale of first love, Oliveras to his credit has clearly gone out of his way to deliver the goods in the form of a touching depiction of the relationship between a pair of star-crossed lovers; namely two teenagers who by getting to know each other, get to know their homosexual self. Simply wondrous.

›› available as part of the TLA Releasing catalogue: August 2010 / UK.
›› revised: Tuesday, 9th November, 2021.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

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archive reference #315 - revised.
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