LGBT-centric cinema has found an amazing outlet in the short form. We here at Short of the Week are continually impressed by filmmakers using our beloved medium to tell diverse stories about sexuality and identity. Cameron Thrower’s Pretty Boy is a solid #longshort addition to this growing collection. While a bit clunky at the start (the setup is somewhat rote in its depiction of bullying), please—I urge you—stick with this one despite the length. It really builds, evolving and getting more emotional as it goes on.
In our curation process, we often debate if online audiences will have the patience for shorts with long runtimes. And, for that reason alone, it’s a shame that most casual audiences won’t have the patience for a film such as this. Again, It’s a slow-starter. But, once the film gets its two characters in the hotel room, it takes its broad, clickbait premise (ignorant Dad attempts to have a prostitute “f-ck the gay out of him”) and develops it with two nuanced, believable characters. It’s an undeniably sweet film—one that is as much about being gay as it is being true to oneself. Both central characters, Sean (Nick Eversman) and Kate (Rebekah Tripp), the prostitute paid to “set him straight,” are given moving, heartfelt arcs that are touching without being too melodramatic. Granted, this is a sentimental film, but it’s also not a cloying one. And, the characters are far more than the cliché’s that the plot setup might initially suggest. The character of Kate, especially, is more than just another “prostitute with a heart of gold” stereotype.
For these reasons we heartily recommend this film. No matter the length, we always respect emotional and dramatic filmmaking when it’s well acted, written, and constructed. And, Pretty Boy delivers. It’s an inspirational film that will move many—not just those who have gone through similar experiences of questioning one’s sexuality. That being said, this is clearly a project with personal ties.
As writer/director Cameron Thrower, relates: “Overall, I wanted to make a film that I needed to see when I was 17. ‘Pretty Boy’ is that film. This film is a journey of discovery that examines a complex social dilemma that continues to plague our society. This film is meant to inspire our youth to follow their hearts, to seek out their true family if…the family they were born into isn’t the family they’re meant to be with.”
Pretty Boy appeared at festivals across the U.S. And, Thrower has a lot of other exciting projects on the horizon. Just last year, he was the USA Jameson First Shot winner for his script, Beauty Mark, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal. Be sure to check out that film here. And, if you’re interested in learning more about the creation and conception of Pretty Boy, watch this excellent behind the scenes video on the film.