aGLIFF 2011 (Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival)
By Don Simpson | September 13, 2011
Director: Rikki Beadle Blair
Writer: Rikki Beadle Blair
Starring: Duncan MacInnes, Ludvig Bonin, Sasha Frost, Lydia Toumazou, Stephen Hoo, Jay Brown, Jason Maza, Katie Borland, Rikki Beadle Blair
Fit takes place in a fictional world where people judge, belittle and abuse other people merely because their presumed sexual preference is not “normal.” These bullies accuse their prey of being “gay” just because of how they act and dress, knowing nothing of whether or not their prey would prefer to snog a boy or a girl. In other words, just because someone does not conform to the restrictive social constructs of what defines masculinity and femininity, they are teased, ridiculed and beaten. Oh and for some, their interpretation of The Bible says that gays are evil. Sounds pretty crazy, huh?
Cleverly flipping queer stereotypes onto their heads, Fit lays out several red herrings in order to prompt the audience to make early judgments about the characters. Lee (Lydia Toumazou) appears to be a stereotypical tomboy “dyke” while her best friend Karmel (Sasha Frost) is girly, pretty and obviously straight. Tegs (Duncan MacInnes) is the school geek and is labelled as “gay” because of his gentle personality while his best mate Jordan (Ludvig Bonin) is a talented footballer (read: soccer player) who protects Tegs from bullies such as the hyper-homophobic Isaac (Jay Brown) and Ryan (Stephen Hoo). All on the verge of expulsion from school, they have been sentenced to dance class with a flamboyantly gay teacher — Loris (Rikki Beadle Blair) — as their final warning. We see these six teenagers, in turn, via their own and others’ perspectives.
Unfortunately for all of us, the cinematic world that writer-director Rikki Beadle Blair creates for us is significantly more real than it should be. Our society needs Fit just as much now as it did back when I was a teenager in the 1980s. Heck, any world in which people cannot be legally married to someone of the same sex or where someone as hateful and judgmental as Michele Bachmann could even be considered to be a Presidential hopeful in the United States needs a lot of help.
Though it plays a lot like a 100+ minute episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation or Skins — comparisons that some may find more favorable than others — Fit is the most complex and thorough exploration of teenage queerness that I have ever seen. Most of all, it is quite encouraging: people can change, acceptance (and happiness) is possible. Fit should be required viewing for all teenagers; let us just hope that it is not “too gay” for the haters in the audience.