★★★★★ | Geography Club, Wonderfully fresh look at gay teens coming of age
In this wonderful fresh look at the world of gay teens, the one thing the members of this Club definitely don’t talk about is Geography.
They are a group of closeted gay high school students who don’t want anyone to know the true purpose of their meetings. There are only three members to start but when Min, a rather bossy bi-sexual, inadvertently catches her friend Russell kissing football jock Kevin, she invites him to join them and that triggers a whole series of events that will eventually force them to ‘out’ themselves to the whole school.
Oddly enough Kevin is the deepest into the closet even though his father is actually very proud of his out gay brother. Kevin encourages Russell to join the football team in order so they can at least hang out together, and although by accepting the offer it doesn’t mean that the boys actually get any closer, apart from the rare make out session, but it results in Russell getting roped into bullying another gay classmate just to keep his own cover.
Russell’s plump best friend Gunnar pressures him to go on a double-date as that is the only way that Kimberly will go out with him. When Trish her friend makes the moves on a petrified Russell, his panicky reactions cause Kimberly to call him a ‘fag’; a fact that she ensures is common knowledge to the entire school the very next day. Now totally exposed there are only two ways that this can play out for Russell, and he chooses the bravest and most honest option with the support of his real friends.
Based on Brent Hartinger’s very successful young adult novel, the movie is directed by 28-year-old actor Gary Entin from a script by his twin brother actor Edmund Entin (both known for The Seeker: The Dark is Rising). It is an extremely impressive and professional debut from these two and is a wonderfully fresh look at young teens coming to terms with their sexuality. They score high points for their enlightened approach to an emotive subject, especially for avoiding all the usual clichéd stereotypes. The fact that not all the main players redeemed themselves at the end, added another credible touch of realism.
Great cast of young experienced actors; Cameron Deane Stewart (‘Pitch Perfect’) played Russell; Andrew Caldwell (Transformers) was Gunnar, Ally Maki (Step Up 3D) as Min, Justin Deeley (Couples Retreat) as Kevin, Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray) as Min’s girlfriend Theresa and Alex Newell (Glee) as Ike a club member. And the wonderful Ana Gustier (ex-Saturday Night Live) was hilarious as the hippy teacher ‘who cared’.
Several publishers rejected the book itself before Harper Collins picked it up. To their delight they had three reprints within the first three months, proving that there is both a market and real need for books like this, I think there is also a demand for the movies that evolve from them, especially when they are of this high calibre.