Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: "Before You Know It"

I wrote earlier this week about a film called "Before You Know It." It is a documentary that follows the lives of three different gay men in their 60s and 70s. I attended a free showing this past Tuesday night and was very impressed by what I saw.

This is who "Before You Know It" is about (from right to left): 

* Robert is a campy bar owner in his mid-70s. He is widowed from his partner of 35 years and he's one of those guys who loves to adopt strays. He gay nephew assists him with the day-to-day operations of the bar. Robert is very comical and spends much of his time entertaining his patrons. Trust me. You will never hear the Muppets' "Mahna Mahna" song the same again! Unfortunately, his humor covers a very serious legal complication that threatens to destroy everything that he built for himself over the past four decades. 

* Ty is a sixtysomething SAGE activist. His mission is to create a more visible LGBT presence within Harlem, while dreaming for the day when gay marriage finally comes to New York State. Gay marriage finally did come to New York while this documentary was filming, which leads to nonstop uncertainty about whether or not Ty and his longtime partner should married now that they finally have the opportunity! 

* And then there is Dennis. He is a seventysomething widower who spends much of this film exploring his cross-dressing identity as "Dee" and seeking acceptance within the larger LGBT communities. On the surface, Dennis' story appears to be the saddest. But in actuality, he is the one who demonstrates the most personal growth and courage from start to finish. The other men lived their lives as out gay men. Dennis has no such connections and bravely explores this new world of gay retirement centers, gay cruises, and gay bars on his own -- with varying levels of success. 

"Before You Know It" is a really fun documentary! There is much to make you laugh -- as well as moments that will bring you to tears. I really, really enjoyed it!

This film will be playing again in Iowa City this Saturday, June 21st, at the Iowa City Public Library (Meeting Rooms A&B) at 3:00 PM. It's a free program and just footsteps away from the Iowa City Pride festivities. Check it out!

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