Back then when i was still stalking around the LJ hemisphere back in ’09, one of my friends recommended this movie to watch. This might’ve been the umpteenth popular media that features Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of the first story from shakespeare that i was so familiar with since my childhood.
It told a story of several events around the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta, as well as several other parties who got controlled and manipulated by the naughty faerie named Puck, the servants to Oberon, King of Faeries.The themes of love, individuality, as well as (ambiguous) sexuality is present in the play, making it somewhat a perfect parallel to the story that unfolds in the film itself.
My ear should catch your voice; my eye, your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue, sweet melody,
My tongue your tongue were the world mine
– Were The World Mine (2008)
Were The World Mine is a musical(!), coming-of-age, romance film with a touch of comedy and a dash of fantasy. It tells the story of one broken home Timothy (Tanner Cohen), a senior at a private all-boy’s school, who still suffers torments from his peer for being gay and his mother is still struggle in accepting his sexuality. As if his life is not hard enough, he also had a crush on the captain of the school rugby team, Jonathon (Nathaniel David Becker). He is cast as Puck in the senior production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream while Jonathon is cast as Lysander, one of the lovers in the play. When he read the script to learn his line, he discovered the secret of love-in-idleness flower through an apophenia-inspired scene. Using the secret flower, Timothy, just like Puck, enchant everyone in town into fall in love with the first person they saw, and made it so they fall for the person of the same gender, throwing most habitant of the bigoted town into gay love frenzy.
I love and always fascinated by musical films. The film has several musical numbers within them, mostly occurring within the realm of Timothy’s fantasy. With some lyrics directly adapted from Shakespearean prose, combined with Tanner Cohen Some of the musical number accompanied by the band of young men in their rugby uniforms or topless and glittered in shiny shorts (cliched but i love it! XD). These musical number are the core strength of the film, making it as enjoyable (if not significantly better) than Glee (at least the vocals is not overtly auto-tuned).
Just like the shakespearean play, the conflicts in the movie started when Timothy discover the secret of love-in-idleness flower. The comic started to break loose there (and everyone started to speak in shakespearean, too!). I wish the pacing of the movie would be better, since the slow burning beginning and the rushed ending annoyed me a little. The script lacks wit even though the whole idea of the movie itself was very charming. There were significant moments i like to point out, such as putting the bigoted heterosexuals into the shoes of the supposed homosexuals for once, the funniest one is the 180 change to the homophobic teacher into hopeless romantic! Another one is when the mother reconstruct his wedding dress to create his son’s faerie wing for the play, showing the support and love of a mother that beyond words could express.
Adapted from Faeries, a 2003 short by Gustafson himself, Were the World Mine is an enjoyable movie with its little charm and whimsy magic. It was different from other LGBT related musical i’ve seen (like Hedwig or Rocky Horror). I’m glad that he delivers a charming gay indie cinema that does not stray to a campy comedy territory, but instead become something special and unique piece.
Both Faeries and Were The World Mine are highly acclaimed and well received in Film Festivals and screening in the US and abroad (including Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Festival in 2008, Queersicht 2008 in Berne and Switzerland, as well as Melbourne Queer Film Festival in 2009). You can get Faeries on iTunes and get the home media release and download for Were The World Mine.
Were the World Mine on IMDb.