When Tanner is outed instead of Brent, the two boys go from B.F.Fs to instant frenemies. Enter the three most popular girls in school -- queen-of-mean bombshell Fawcett, drama club diva Caprice, and sweet, Mormon good-girl ‘Shley, who launch an all-out social war to win Tanner’s friendship. From the press release.
This March, Egmont UK and Peccadillo Pictures have teamed up to promote both David Levithan's latest UK release, Two Boys Kissing, and G.B.F., a teen movie featuring two gay protagonists together. Unbelievably, I was offered the exciting opportunity to interview the Director of G.B.F, Darren Stein - which you can read later today - and I was given the chance to watch G.B.F in advance to help me conduct my interview. Not only is it completely insane that I've been given this fantastic opportunity, but the movie was so good, I have so much more to say about it than I can in my interview with Stein. And so a review!
Brent is looking for popularity. He knows if he comes out at school, the Queen Bees of each clique will want him as their new G.B.F. - gay best friend - as he will give them an edge the other's don't have. Tanner, Brent's best friend, is not yet ready to tell everyone he's gay, and wants to keep his sexuality to himself. However, when Brent's plan to find a date backfires, the whole school discovers that Tanner is gay. Now Caprice, 'Shley and Fawcett are each determined to have the monopoly on the "only" gay guy at North Gateway High, and will do whatever it takes to make him their own accessory.
Not only is G.B.F. hilariously funny, it's also such an important and bold movie. It's the first teen movie I know of to have gay characters as the protagonists. I love how a "G.B.F." is technically a supporting role, as being a gay best friend is being a minion to a Queen Bee, yet the stereotype is used to give Brent and Tanner their own story as main characters, and give the spotlight over to gay people rather than relegating them to secondary characters, as we see so often.
G.B.F. is a comedy like other teen movies, rather than a serious, "issue" filled drama. The whole theme of the movie is that gay people are just normal people, and shouldn't be treated any differently. By making GBF a normal teen comedy - like any other teen comedy - it's doing what it says. Not treating the subject any differently.
It's a movie that shows how far we as a society has come. The very fact that G.B.F. exists show how things have progressed, but it's a very current movie as well. There's a Gay-Straight Alliance, talk of an alternative prom, even the use of gay hook up apps and social media. It covers what all teens would see every day today, but also shows how accepting we've become to the LGBTQ community. There's still a way to go, though, and GBF doesn't hide from that.
It tackles some serious things that LGBTQ people experience, coming out, hiding sexuality, relgious views, homophobia, equal/gay rights and stereotypes, but it's all through the comedy lens. It doesn't make light of the seriousness of it all, but the humour makes certain ideas hit home without being preachy, and make the anti-gay religious views, for example, completely laughable.
Although completely different stories, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan looks at similar themes as G.B.F., but more seriously. Like G.B.F., the point of Harry and Craig's marathon kiss is to highlight equal/gay rights - that gay people are no different, and shouldn't be treated like they're less than everyone else. With their bold statement, they show they're not going to stand for homophobia, and get their message out there as they make the news. With the stories of various other characters told alongside the kiss, and seeing how their kiss affects them - as well as the news of the outrage from people to their kiss - Two Boys Kissing looks at exactly the same experiences as G.B.F. At the same time, with the book being narrated by a Greek chorus of the generation of gay people who lived with AIDs, we are shown exactly how much things have changed - again, with alternate proms, with hook up apps, with the support shown for Harry Craig and the small freedom these people now have, that they never did. The book and movie are two different stories, and are two very different approaches, but they have the same heart. The same relief at how things are now different, the same hope that things will keep changing, the same demand that LGBTQ people are seen as people.
G.B.F. is an incredibly funny teen movie, and a huge step in the right direction when it comes to giving LGBTQ characters the spotlight, having real LGBTQ teens represented on the big screen. A fantastic, brilliant movie! I highly recommend you watch it!
G.B.F. Release Dates:
Cinema Release Date - 21st March 2014
On Demand Release Date - 22nd March 2014
DVD Release Date - 7th April 2014
Director: Darren Stein
Film Distributor: Peccadillo Pictures
Published: 27th March 2014
Publisher: Egmont UK
David Levithan's Website
Do come back on Friday 21st March where you can read my interview with Darren! It's going to be awesome!
Thank you to Egmont UK and Peccadillo Press for the advanced DVD.