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For her directorial debut, producer Trudie Styler tackles the feelgood story of a young gay boy who confronts the prejudices of his conservative high school head on and in high heels. Styler leans heavily on a stingingly acidic turn from British actor Alex Lawther as Billy Bloom, a young man who, quite rightly, refuses to compromise his fabulousness in order to assimilate with the jeans-and-polo-shirt majority at his new school. Having survived a savage beating, Billy decides to make a stand against the mediocrity and malice of his fellow students and campaigns to be the school’s homecoming queen.
There are thematic similarities with both Napoleon Dynamite and Love, Simon. However, despite a defiantly celebratory message, this film lacks the playful wit and effortless execution that characterised those pictures. The storytelling, like Billy’s eyeshadow, tends towards broad brushstrokes. Styler is particularly fond of slow-motion sashay shots in which Billy showcases his latest outfits in front of the gawping bigots. It’s good natured and well intentioned, but you end up wishing that Styler’s directorial decisions were even half as bold as Billy’s wardrobe.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Freak Show review – a feelgood story that’s defiantly celebratory | Film