Get Real focuses on high school student Steven Carter (Ben Silverstone), who lives in a small rural town in England at a time when homosexuality is still expressly taboo. He tells no one how he feels other than his overweight neighbour Linda, whom he feels safe with. While furtively looking for others interested in him in the bathroom, he ends up on a blind date with John Dixon (Brad Gorton), one of the most popular students at the school, who is an athlete bound for Oxford.
Soon enough, rumours start to bounce around the school of one of the students being gay, causing John to fear that Steven has been spreading the word about their fresh relationship. In an attempt to retain his status at the school, John beats Steven in front of his friends. This doesn’t immediately cause their break-up, however, and Steven soon stands at a school assembly to announce his status as a gay man. He looks to John for support, but finds none within him. Afterwards, John apologizes to him and says that he loves Steven, but that he’s still afraid of coming out about who he is. This is too much for Steven to bear, so he breaks up with John, wishing him a happy life in the end.
“Movies like Get Real might help homophobic teenagers and adults become more accepting of differences. Certainly this film has deeper values than the mainstream teenage comedies that retail aggressive materialism, soft-core sex and shallow ideas about “popularity.”
“The movie captures the excruciating paranoia of a situation in which there’s nowhere the lovers can be alone except in each other’s homes on the rare occasions their parents are out.”
— Steven Holden, The New York Times
Did You Know?
Get Real was based on the theatrical production of What’s Wrong with Angry?, written by Patrick Wilde, who claims that the story was initially written in defiance of the U.K.’s infamous “section 28”, a piece of legislation that forbade promoting a positive image of homosexuality in general, and in schools especially. The film slowly opened up in various global territories over the course of several years, beginning in 1998, and helped to build a groundswell towards reforming this legislation. Review our Gay Themed Films here