Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 2013. Enumerated Pictures, Huffington Pictures, Levy Leder Company. Screenplay by Edmund Entin, based on the novel by Brent Hartinger. Cinematography by Matthew Irving. Produced by Anthony Bretti, Michael Huffington. Music by Lior Rosner. Production Design by Scott Enge. Costume Design by Dahlia Foroutan. Film Editing by William Yeh.
A class field trip yields more results than just research when Russell has a kiss in the rain with football jock Kevin. It’s witnessed by a fellow student who, you fear, will tell the whole school but instead invites the two of them to join her after-school Geography Club, which turns out to be a meeting place for the school’s gay and lesbian students to discuss their lives and experiences. Kevin refuses to go but Russell resists until he realizes he has good reason to be there, and so begins a story with surprising twists: Kevin comes from a family that isn’t homophobic but his own desire to keep things under wraps (in order to stay popular with his teammates) takes him to dark places, while Russell navigates a rocky road between what he wants and what we wants to appear to be that results in uncomfortable situations with a prospective girlfriend and cruelty towards a social outcast student. All of this should lead towards something poignant and meaningful, but the direction is bland and the story has no emotional climax. There’s not enough of a sense of who these people are to get you involved in their story, but young people will get something out of its even-handed manner of detailing the pressures of high school survival and the power they all have to survive it.