Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Movie Review: Breakfast with Scot - Gay-Themed Family Drama Beneftits from an Honest and Dynamic Approach
Now playing in Atlanta, Breakfast with Scot is an astute and appealing family drama that realistically depicts some of the challenges that face a gay male couple rearing a 12-year-old boy. Directed by Laurie Lynd (Queer as Folk), the film has been playing the festival circuit for awhile, and is notable for being the first gay-themed film to have the approval of the NHL, and more specifically, the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose name and logo are used in the film. It stars Tom Cavanagh (Ed) and Ben Shenkman (Angels in America) as Eric and Sam. Eric, a former hockey player for the Maple Leafs, is now a sportscaster who keeps his homosexuality in the closet. Sam, an attorney, is much more open about his sexuality. When an ex-girlfriend of Sam's flighty brother, Billy (Colin Cunningham), dies of a drug overdose, she leaves her son Scot (Noah Bernett) in his charge. But with Billy down in Brazil pursuing another in a long succession of get-rich-quick schemes, Sam and Eric decide to take the boy in until Billy returns. Scot turns out to be flamboyantly effeminate in his behavior. For Sam, who is comfortable with his sexuality, this is not as big of a problem as it is for Eric. Eric fears that even being seen with Scot will call attention to his homosexuality. Ostensibly, he thinks this may interfere with his ability to get into the locker room for interviews. But in reality, it is striking a nerve, as he has never fully dealt with his own identity as a gay man in what is considered to be a "macho" career. And then there's Scot. How can Eric be a role model to Scot, who is still learning to find his way through the onset of puberty, if he hasn't defined who he is to himself and the people around him? In the pivotal role of Eric, Cavanagh is excellent, walking the fine line between demanding surrogate dad, and sensitive role model to Scot. He can be infuriating when he disassociates himself from the boy for acting out in ways that highlight his own insecurities. When Eric runs into his boss at an ice rink while on an outing with Scot, the boss sees the boy twirling on his skates, and asks who that is -to the viewer, obviously impressed with the youngster's abilities. Eric acts as if he doesn't know the boy, mistakenly honing in on what he senses as his boss' disapproval. Eric can be sympathetic also, like when he admits to Sam that he just doesn't want Scot to go through the same kind of alienation he went through growing up. Director Lynd also balances some of the heartwarming feel he gives the movie with some stark realism. There are scenes, such as one where Scot makes pancakes for breakfast - shaped like a T - for the T missing from his name, that are so cute they border on cloying. But Lynd also shows the reality behind Scot's situation in a scene where he makes it perfectly clear to the viewer, his eavesdropping surrogate dads, and a young friend, that he is completely aware of how his mom died. Breakfast with Scot is a family drama that is both dynamic and honest, benefiting greatly from the depiction of a healthy gay couple, and the reality of the challenges they face raising a kid. Breakfast with Scot is in limited release. Still provided courtesy of Regent Releasing.