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Get Real Review

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Steve (Silverstone) has managed to keep his homosexuality a secret from everyone, enduring the taunts of the school bullies, relying on his best friend Linda (Brittain) for support and pining for his school's star pupil John Dixon (Gorton). Indeed, his advances are returned and thus he and John embark on a relationship John demands is kept secret for fear of homophobic reprisals.

★★★★★

Fuelled by the success of Lock Stock, Elizabeth and the like, the indigenous film industry is currently enjoying yet another back-slapping session by a media desperate for home-grown achievements. But, away from cockney gangsters and period costumes, it's refreshing to see Brits still doing what they do best - honest, down-to-earth comedy dramas like this rites of passage tale about a 16-year-old gay struggling against a society reluctant to accept him.

Aside from the central love story, writer Wilde also ensures that the universal themes of childhood, mistimed arousal, abysmal chat-up lines and youthful romance get an airing, rounded off by a hilariously cheesy disco. Yet not everything is treated so flippantly. The awkward first steps and subsequent intensity of the main relationship is deftly handled without ever resorting to graphic images, while the moving confession scene is beautifully orchestrated so as to seem neither unrealistic nor out of place.

Occasionally, considering the seriousness of the subject matter, it drifts too far into light and fluffy territory, and the conclusion wraps things up all too neatly. There are solid performances from the cast, particularly Silverstone's conflicted, self-effacing hero and Brittain's abrasive best friend. More importantly, the dialogue, while smart and amusing, never slips into the overwrought psychobabble practised by American teen dramas.

Succeeding in illustrating people's narrow-mindedness about homosexuality without the canny writing and fun, if familiar, teen exploits make Get Real a low-key treat.

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