Friday, July 13, 2012

Jay's Movie of the Week #28: Worried About The Boy

Traditionally, this is the weekend I go to the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, but the budget made that a no go. I'll still be having a great weekend, celebrating my anniversary. But in the spirit of a musical weekend, I found the perfect movie of the week. You never expect a TV movie to be as good as this one is. Reviewed for DVD Snapshot, and a real treat.

Official Synopsis:

George O'Dowd (Douglas Booth) leaves home to join the new fashion movement in London and has his world turned upside down when his dreams of music success become a reality. Now, with all the drugs, love, fashion, and glamour that accompany his celebrity lifestyle, can Boy George really find the happiness he so desperately craves?

Our Take:

I'm not a drug addict, I'm a drag addict.”

When Culture Club released their first album, mainstream England (much less America) wasn't ready
for its gender-bending lead singer, Boy George. Coyly unwilling to hide his sexuality behind his outrageous drag, he was one of the most transgressive celebrities of the Eighties. The songs weren't bad either.

Worried About the Boy tells the story of Boy George's youth up to the band's formation paired with his experience of its disintegration. Moving out of his parents house, he befriends the equally stylish Marilyn and they become part of the fabled 1980 nightclub scene. Success quickly followed once he caught the eye of Malcom McLaren, leading to both super-stardom and a drug habit that ultimately blew the the band apart at their height.
Relative newcomers Douglas Booth and Freddie Fox give admirable performances as Boy George and Marilyn. (It's almost a disappointment when Booth lip-synchs.) Stylish visuals which propel the storytelling and music from the scene give the film energy and authority. A TV movie biopic, this is of a much higher caliber than that pedigree would suggest. Handsomely filmed, smartly written and acted; (this is an extremely well-crafted film. One sequence showing the sweet start of a youthful, closeted romance with Theater of Hate's Kirk Brandon, who later sued over the revelation) followed by a painful illustration of his dynamic with his father stands out. It just feels absolutely honest.

While Culture Club skyrocketed to the top, the public didn't know George was also in a tempestuous (and also closeted) relationship with drummer Jon Moss (Matthew Horne). The complexity of their relationship is told with complexity and nuance instead of run-through a more binary view of sexuality. For short scenes, they pack a refreshing punch. Likewise, easy moralizing is eschewed in favor of a direct, honest depiction of the effect drugs had on George, though these “after” scenes seem shoehorned into the story.

The movie treats both its characters and audience as real, three-dimensional adults. Overall, Worried About the Boy is a pleasant surprise: a generously warts-and-all biography which scrubs the makeup and artifice from its subject, while leaving him all of his fabulous style.

Special Features:
Worried About The Boy is presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital English Audio with SDH English subtitles and in a 16x9 Widescreen format. The only extras are a trailer and a 10 minute behind-the-scenes featurette.

An upscale TV biopic, Worried About the Boy charts the fiery rise and fall of Boy George and Culture Club. Excellently crafted, complex, and recommended.

Overall Picture:
Movie: A-
Extras: C-

No comments:

Post a Comment