Posted by: fudgie99 | February 5, 2009

The Gymnast

gymnast3_webWhat you need to know- the two lead women in this film toured with Cher- CHER!!! See it, OK?

I guess if you need more convincing I’ll tell you a little bit about it. The movie follows Jane, a former Olympic gymnast, through her current life with the “douche” (as I unkindly referred to her husband throughout the movie) as a massage therapist, leaving any and all signs of passion for gymnastics, life, or people behind. Until, of course, she meets Serena, a lesbian dancer, who she’s set up with to do an aerial acrobatic routine to try out for Vegas.

I should also mention that Jane REALLY wants a baby and has been trying for a long time without much help from the douche.  Her sadness around this and her complete lack of affect become more obvious as she comes to life doing what she loves.

As true gymnasts/dancers/aerialists and not actors, both women bring a raw emotion to their roles. Watching Jane come back to life is almost as magical as the acrobatics. Serena, as the closeted lesbian, hits a lot of familiar notes- she’s afraid of being burned by the experimental straight girl, she’s afraid to disappoint her (adoptive) parents by coming out to them. There’s sexual tension, but what’s actually shown is rather tame (floating wine glass, anyone?). Still, since the women were friends who spent time rehearsing when not performing with Cher, the affection seems intimate and the connection real.

The movie was actually more lighthearted than the picture on the cover implies. The women joke with each other, as well as with Jane’s crazy divorced friend. Peeing in urinals, tromping around a mansion in go go boots and tiaras all make for some wacky lesbian entertainment.

At one point in the movie Jane is talking to the douche telling him he doesn’t have to put a label on what she is. His response, “I know, everyone else will do it for me.” seemed to capture a sense of  the risk both women were taking- in coming out, in leaving a husband. Everyone’s always out there ready to hate on you. You just have to decide if it’s worth it to take some sh*t, if it means being true to yourself.

This movie took 21 days to shoot, was full of beautiful dance routines, and made me laugh. The making of and the short film in the bonus features were both worth watching, too.

At one point, Jane says to Serena:” You hang on to me. I’ll hang on to you. Solid.”   Whether in dance or in life, we all need someone to hold on to.

4 stars – call in the U-haul!

Favorite lines:

“Self hatred is the mother’s milk of closeted lesbians everywhere.”

“Don’t make me tell the cooter story again.”

“Oh, come here and compress my laundry.” (by way of asking for a hug)

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