50 Ways of Saying Fabulous is all about the tumultuous life of 12 year-old Billy (Andrew Paterson), a confused gay boy stuck in the conservative ways of rural New Zealand in the 70s. His penchant for the fantastic and curious fashion makes it easy to single him out, with classmates referring to him as a ‘poofter’ despite his ignorance of the term’s significance.
His cousin Lou (Harriet), is a tomboy, and helps to insulate him to some degree from the aggressiveness of his classmates. Billy also often finds solace in fantasies rooted in his favourite TV show, Adventures in Space, sparking many offbeat fantasy sequences that add some charm to the proceedings.
Eventually, Billy meets the intense Roy (Jay Collins), who expands his awareness of the world of self-pleasure. This develops into a relationship of sorts, but Billy’s further attraction to the epitome of masculine cool in the boy Jamie (Michael Dorman) leaves Roy feeling jilted. At the same time that Billy has to learn to deal with the immature and undeveloped notions of romance at his age, he also has to struggle with the complexities of family acceptance in a time and setting where acceptance ran short.
“Downplaying the camp, gender-bending and fantastical elements of his 1993 debut feature, “Desperate Remedies,” Kiwi writer-helmer Stewart Main’s overdue sophomore effort is a kidpic-of-sorts that ends up being just as peculiar.”
— Denis Harvey, Variety
“50 Ways of Saying Fabulous is a beautiful love story full of the anguish and pain of adolescence”
— Rima te Wiata
Did You Know?
50 Ways of Saying Fabulous never secured wide theatrical release, but was still able to win the Special Jury Award at the Torino International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in 2006. The movie was adapted from the novel of the same title written by Graeme Aitken, who based the events of the story loosely off of his own experiences growing up in 1970s rural New Zealand. Review our Gay Themed Films Here