Brit queer filmmaker Leon Lopez’s chose a gritty melodrama to direct for his sophomore feature film. Until recently Lopez was best known for acting in major UK Soaps like Eastenders and Hollyoaks , the latter he went on to direct. His portfolio since then has included some excellent queer shorts such as ‘Crossroad‘ ‘Circles‘ and ‘Hey Google‘ establishing him as ‘a queer filmmaker’ to watch.
Out of Time which was written by Kerry Williams one of the stars (and also co-producer) is the story of how a Liverpool based working class family deal with some major challenges. The biggest of these being the transitioning of 11 year old Connor (an excellent performance from young Frankie Friend).
The film kicks off with Danny (Jamie Cousins) being released from prison after serving an 8 year sentence. He is treated like a returning hero by everyone in the neighborhood, although we are kept in the dark about why he was incarcerated in the first place . His live-in girlfriend Sam has at the same time kept Danny in the dark about their child’s evolving need to transition.
At first ultra-macho Danny, whose life goes back to revolve around working at the Gym and being a Cage Fighter, just sees Connor as an effeminate boy because of his reluctance to play sports and enjoy the boxing training his father forces on him. When Sam finally shows him a letter from a psychiatrist that confirms Connor’s gender dysphoria, Danny goes into a rage.
At the same time there is a secondary plot of an lonely elderly women, so poor she is unable to pay the milkman, who has just been told that her cancer in terminal. Lopez leaves us to work at making the connection, but when we do ……..she is Sam’s estranged mother…… it adds a whole strand of child abuse to the story.
The melodrama it creates is enough to threaten everybody’s lives, but much more important than that it shows how this poorly educated working class family deals with these issues on their own. There is no room in Williams script for lengthy physiological discussions, she treats it all as one family dealing with the honesty of their reality and simply coming to terms with it.
Acceptance of the transgender community as a whole is helped greatly by visibility, and films like this that are both as entertaining and educational really help the continuing dialogue
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Labels: 2020, British, family drama, Leon Lopez, transitioning