Movie review: This enjoyable (if too short) documentary uses comments from Margaret Cho, Dan Savage and David Sedaris to explore the subject of internalized homophobia. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.
“Do I Sound Gay?” is the first feature film from Brooklyn-based David Thorpe, whose movie career began with the 2006 short “Gay Volleyball Saved My Life.”
That may sound like the setup for a joke, but Thorpe is deadly serious about one subject: internalized homophobia. It crops up again and again in his new film, in comments from both gay people who are ashamed of the way they sound and straight people who fear being labeled.
Thorpe talks to Dan Savage about the closet (“you police yourself for evidence that might betray you”); David Sedaris about telephone misunderstandings (“I don’t think I sound like a woman; I think I sound like a very small man”); and Margaret Cho, who faced a different kind of speech problem (her family tried to rid themselves of Korean accents).
Movie Review ★★½
‘Do I Sound Gay?,’ a documentary by David Thorpe. 77 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. (contains profanity and sexual references). Northwest Film Forum.
Thorpe says he made the film as the result of a midlife crisis and a difficult breakup: “I can’t shake the idea that my voice repels other gay men.” It feels personal, sometimes in a home-movie-ish way.
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This is an intelligent (if too short) exploration of gender confusion, speech therapy and the perils of coming out. The exaggeration of nelly mannerisms, especially the clips from “The Boys in the Band,” may be too much (“The Celluloid Closet” handled this sort of thing with more depth), but the segment on campy Disney cartoons is fascinating.