The innocence of gay life in suburban Britain in the 1980’s before the AIDS epidemic changed the landscape forever is caught beautifully in this micro-budget drama that filmmaker Lloyd Eyre-Morgan has adapted from his own stage play. It’s the story of shy introverted 16 year old Paul who is taken by Denise his divorced mother for a weeks vacation in a rather shabby camp site in Wales. Denise seems to be in a bad mood most of the time and takes out the bitter hand that life has dealt her on her meek son.
Whilst she is getting a tour of the few facilities of the site by Norman its rather lecherous owner, Paul meets a brash teenager from London called George. The two boys are total opposites but through boredom and loneliness (George’s father fails to show up for the vacation) they quickly become fast friends. Paul is at first horrified to discover that George is into illegal activities such as shop-lifting and drinking, but then he sees in him such fun and excitement that his mother has never allowed him to experience. Whilst Paul is happy enough to allow his mother to push him into a boring job at the local Post Office, George has big plans. He dreams of emigrating to Australia to open a Bar right on a beach.
By the end of the week it has developed into much more and the boys part vowing to go back home to save up money for the both of them to follow George’s dream and meet up at the same time next year. When the next summer comes around again Paul makes tracks back to Wales but there is no sign of George, so he persuades Angareed, Norman’s daughter, to look up George’s address in London and the two set off to look him up.
Denise is not far behind them as once she has discovered her much emboldened son has left with out her, she is in hot pursuit. From this point this gentle coming-of-age tale turns into a melodrama and Denise alternates being a screaming harridan and a sweet lonely mother. Although there is always the inevitability of things not ending too well, the actually dramatic turn of events was probably a little too heavy handed.
‘Dream On’ is a tiny movie that was obviously a project fuelled by good intentions and love and is far from perfect with the performances from the two ‘virgin’ lead actors that were more than a tad stiff and awkward at times. Like other heart-felt movies made on minuscule budgets like this, it demands more tolerance and patience than normal and if you can manage to lower your standards a tad and not expect anything that special, then this is definitely worth a spin.