With Fallen now (kind of) out at UK cinemas, we at Pulse have decided to run a series of movie reviews around the main three characters. Starting with Jeremy Irvine (Daniel).
Before I start this review, I just want to say I am English. I know little to nothing about the Stonewall riots, so I can only review this as a film not at its comparison to reality. Which I understand is quite missing from seeing other LGBTQ people talk about it. Should any reader wish to guest write a piece, that shows the differences between it and the reality of the event I would be happy to publish.
Danny Winters (JI) is still at school, with a scholarship pending to go to Columbia in the fall. He is a normal kid, with a family, little sister, and friends. We see him and the rest of his class watching a film showing them that gays are dangerous, and will rape you. Make sure you keep away, take the safe way home so they do not catch you. Typical 1960’s rubbish. Talking about it at the dinner table, when his little sister brings it up. We find out that Danny’s father is extremely homophobic, whereas his mother seems a little easier going, but will not stand up against her husband.
Danny takes the car to meet his friend, who takes his girlfriend home. Danny parks up behind a sign and waits for the friend to arrive. They are lovers, well at least Danny admits he is gay. The friend just says it’s a little fun, and he isn’t like him. Yet is very happy for Danny to make love to him. They get caught by friends, driving off fast. Next day in school both are called into the office. Danny gets suspended, his friend has said that he came onto him and persuaded him. When Danny gets home his bags have been packed, even though his sister begs him not to go. He takes his bag and heads off to New York.
Falling in with a group of gays, drag queens and so on who live homeless on Christopher Street. Paying for a single room when they have sold enough ‘tricks’, where they can all sleep on the floor for one night. He starts to learn what it is to be a gay man, and the hate that goes with that. Including meeting a young drag queen called Ray, who really takes a shine to him. At Stonewall bar, he meets a man called Trevor who he ends up sleeping with and moving in with. A man who runs a rights society who is trying to peacefully gain equal rights. Not that peacefully always works, which is how Danny ends up in the middle of Riots. Fighting for his very existence with his friends at his side.
I love this movie, from the point of view of someone who knows little about the true events. I love that this movie (true or not very as it sounds) brings in people like me who have not been out that long and would like to know more about their history and society. I love the deep characters, the emotions behind them. The shocking truth of LGBTQ kids on the streets, taking drugs to survive, stealing food, turning ‘tricks’ just to survive. Knowing that part is still sadly true of a lot of our youth.I also think it is very brave and respectful of Netflix to be featuring this production given the current climate. The chilling part is that I can see all this happening again in the next four years, with Trump coming to power to take our rights again.
The only part I really hated was the fact they portrayed gay relationships as not being possible or practical long-term, bar one. That gay man will always fool around, like Trevor and the boy at his school. That sex is just sex, there doesn’t need to be any love attached to it. I admit that some people feel like this of all sexualities and genders. I just find it in this situation to be a slur against the community, leaving me feeling slightly disgusted about the otherwise good movie. Again Jeremy gave his all to the role, showing emotive depth as he went through the trials of coming to terms with his sexuality. He really is one to watch.
Leaving me giving this a steady 7/10 stars
Sarah Beth James