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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Hard Pill (review)

It starts out funny, with its witty hetero/homo scale, a graphic that pops up on the screen, with which it introduces each of its diverse cast of characters — so-and-so is 75 percent straight, while whatsisface is 51 percent gay — and turns unexpectedly profound when lonely, emotionally damaged Tim (Jonathan Slavin) decides, against the objections of his many (platonic) friends, to become an experimental subject in a scientific trial testing a drug to turn gay men straight. The slightly science-fictional premise becomes a powerfully philosophical metaphor with which to explore the cultural pressures gay men — and all those who love them — experience from all sides. From the sorta-straight, kinda-gay pal who has been taking sexual advantage of Tim and is annoyed to find his fuck buddy no longer interested to Tim’s best friend-who’s-a-girl, who has unrealistic expectations as Tim’s desires turn to the opposite sex, this is a heartrending drama about the biological, emotional, and social structuring of human sexuality. Extras include a making-of featurette, outtakes, an interview with star Slavin and writer/director John Baumgartner, and more.

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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