Monday, May 31, 2010

The course of true love never did run smooth

Were the World Mine is a thoroughly charming film. It's a musical with a great rock soundtrack with the lyrics based on William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Midsummer Night's Dream happens to be my favorite of all of Shakespeare's brilliant plays. I cross-dressed and played the workman-actor Peter Quince in my fifth grade school production of it. I took my husband to see it live on stage when we were first dating. I adore the 1999 film version, and not just because it has a young Christian Bale as Demetrius. Heck, I named my last book Midsummer Night, and in one scene the characters are watching the Shakespearean film.


Were the World Mine is not just a new adaptation of the play, though. Its central character is Timothy, a gay teen at an all-male private school. He has an unrequited crush on Jonathon, who happens to be an uber-jock rugby player. Enter Miss T, the English teacher. She insists on casting the macho rugby players in the school play, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Everyone knows that English teachers possess magic, and in this case, it's literally true. She casts Timothy as the mischevious fairy Puck, prompting many "fairy" jokes but also teaching him the magic formula for making the play's love-inducing flower.

With the magic pansy that can make people fall in love with each other at first sight, Timothy gets Jonathon to fall in love with him. Unfortunately, he makes a mistake and accidentally also gets his heterosexual friend Max to fall in love with him. Then Timothy goes a little wild and turns most of the town gay. But this is a comedy, and like the Shakespearean version, all the star-crossed romances and rivalries will be straightened out (literally, in this case) by the end of the film. I don't think anyone will be surprised to learn that when all the magic is reversed, it turns out Jonathon's feelings for Timothy are genuine, and the two live happily ever after.

The music is great, the characters are adorable, and Miss T's glam production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is gorgeous. (Adam Lambert could easily star in this, if it were adapted as a stage musical.) Lovers of theater will appreciate the play within the play. In fact, only the crustiest homophobe could dislike this disarming production.

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