I don’t usually blog at this time of day (it’s 7 pm over here), but I really wanted to get this post up. Today I’m reviewing one of my favourite movies, The Curiosity of Chance.
Director: Russell P. Marleau
Average rating: 6.8/10
This movie follows Chance, an American 16-year-old who moves to Europe with his father and his sister and has to survive high school. He’s openly gay and very flamboyant, and decides to enter a drag-queen competition. When a picture of him in a dress goes around the school, he has to deal with the consequences.
This is the third time I’ve watched this movie, and I’m incredibly torn. It’s one of my favourite movies, it’s funny and sweet, and I always enjoy watching it – but it’s incredibly problematic at times. I’m first going to talk about the things that bother me, and then get into what makes this movie great.
So the thing that makes me the most uncomfortable and that I always wish just wasn’t a part of the movie at all is the fat-shaming. The headmistress of Chance’s high school is a large woman and everyone constantly jokes about her size and her smell. There is this terribly rude stereotype that “fat people smell”, and it’s so overused in this movie. It always makes me sad when I watch it, because it completely ruins what is otherwise a wonderful film.
The other things that I don’t like are not really problematic, but just a matter of preference. Chance, for example, while funny and interesting, is incredibly pretentious. He acts and talks like he thinks he’s better than everyone else, and it just bothers me. He does get nicer, but especially at the beginning I couldn’t stand him.
Then the dialogue isn’t very realistic throughout the movie – the whole thing feels like a gay version of every high school movie ever, with all the exaggerated stereotypes; football players, mean girls, weird people, unlikable teachers … I prefer stories that rely a bit less on stereotypes.
Something I find very interesting is the different accents. Everyone at this school has some kind of accent, but they’re all completely different, which I think was done on purpose to make the specific country the movie is set in as vague as possible. We know Chance moved to Europe, but we never find out where his high school is exactly. Now, what I think wasn’t done very well is the European high school experience. The movie is extremely American, so much it kind of hurts. High school is not like that in Europe, it really isn’t. There are mean people, of course, but there aren’t the typical mean girls and the rude football players. We’re just a bit different over here. The time it’s set in also feels out of place – it’s supposed to be the 80s, but except for the clothes I don’t think the time was captured that well. Chance’s high school experience is what he would live now, not in the 80s. People weren’t that liberal.
But now I want to talk about the good things! I really like Chance’s friends. They are not that great at first, seemingly mean to each other for no reason, but I think you can really see their friendship grow. They can be a bit rude, but ultimately they support each other, and they are definitely memorable characters. One is an awkward guy who always carries a mysterious suitcase around, and no one is allowed to know what’s inside. The other is a black girl who is bad-ass and not scared of anyone or anything. They do make a lovely trio.
And of course there’s Levi. He could honestly add a hundred stars to my rating. He’s one of the football guys, but he actually wants to be Chance’s friend. He’s funny, adorable and just so incredibly sweet. Everyone in this movie is so dramatic and he’s just chill. I love characters who aren’t all in-your-face. Also, how many straight football players stand up for their gay friends? Especially in the 80s? He’s AMAZING and the reason I love this movie so much. Fight me. Chance also has a sort of crush on him, but he doesn’t mind at all, and he doesn’t let it change their friendship, seemingly completely comfortable around him.
Chance’s family is another great part of this movie. His father is a soldier, and he’s very strict. I think his relationship with Chance is believable and incredibly well-done, because while he’s not super comfortable with the idea of his son being gay, he still loves and supports him. And my favourite is the little sister. Chance tells her everything, they share their whole lives, and their relationship is just absolutely adorable. She’s quite a memorable character as well.
And the soundtrack! Of course I need to talk about the music in this movie. It’s definitely appropriate for the time it’s set in, and the main theme is an original, made just for the movie. Chance loves to perform, not just in drag but as a singer in general, and he actually sings with his band at the end of the film. What I love is that the name of the band is a reference to something that is said earlier in the movie – I didn’t notice it the first time I watched it, so I thought I’d mention it.
The ending of the movie is kind of left open – something happens but we never really know if it really did happen or if Chance just imagined it. Whatever the case, I think it’s a wonderful and perfect ending, and it always makes me really happy when I get there.
In conclusion, although problematic at times and definitely not perfect, this is a fun movie with lots of wonderful moments and a great message. Watching it just makes me really damn glad I’m not in high school anymore.
‘Till next time and happy watching!