Out and proud Jason Potts returns to his hometown in Tennessee, only to find things have not changed for LGBT teens. To give them some hope, Jason launches a plan to help them while he’s home, but he quickly finds himself the target of some in his conservative hometown. This film is playing exclusively at Plaza Theatre.
My Thoughts: Tennessee Queer is a bit of an odd film. It was filmed back in 2012, and even then, it would’ve been largely dated. Take it back a decade or two, though, and it would be on the higher end of LGBT cinema output.
I’ll start with my major complaint. Even though the film deals with some potentially weighty films, Tennessee Queer is primarily comedic. It’s an awkward mix to begin with, and it’s only made more dated by a heavy focus on stereotypes to flesh out many of the characters. Gay characters mostly get to avoid the stereotypes, unless they’re dealing with non-gay characters. As for straight characters…well, if they’re on screen for more than a scene or two, they’re either loud, buffoonish homophobes or overly accepting but awkward allies.
That being said, the film is not without its charms. Stereotypes aside, there’s some gentle humor found within the film. The film’s gay characters tend to be painted in more subtle strokes at times, which only makes their enemies look increasingly foolish. The film also provides a level of acceptance at the end that’s actually more indicative of the present than what precedes it.