Were the World Mine is the sort of lithe movie that is so sincere, so earnest in it’s desire that everything work out for the best for everyone, that one cannot help but give in to its earnestness and decide to like it, if not love it, despite its few failings, which includes some clumsy dialogue from novice actors and a first feature filmmaker’s approach to staging. Still, writer/director Tom Gustafson’s is capable, his short film Faries (2003), was a festival favorite as well, and Were the World Mine is built from several of it’s themes.
Were the World Mine is the story of a gay young man who’s new to his school and his town. He’s only recently come out, and the revelation of his gayness is taxing everything and everyone in his life. Timothy (Tanner Cohen) is bullied by his straight classmates, including the girls, but especially by the rugby boys. He has the most lucid daydreams. Lovely, often sexually themed musical interludes that release him from the misery of the daily put downs and beat downs. This is not so niche’ a movie as it may seem. Shades of Hedwig and the Angry Inch lurk here, and that’s the way festival audiences have been treating it; like the smart gay film straight people can go see. Though it won’t cause any singing and dancing at the box office, Were the World Mine will draw a bright and sophisticated crowd, the kind that leaves the theatre neater than they found it. Which has got to be worth something.
After his oddly ethereal drama teacher, Ms. Tebbit (Wendy Robie, who played the log lady in Twin Peaks), casts him as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Timothy stumbles upon a spell for a love potion hidden within the pages of his script that allows him to create a magical pansy (the flower) that spreads an unusual pansy dust that causes everyone to fall in love with a person of the opposite sex. Thus not only does Timothy’s school become very gay, the whole town lightens up. All of this is played among a number storylines that include Timothy’s hard pressed mother who’s still trying to come to terms with his gayness, a few of his not homophobic friends, and his crush on a handsome Rugby player who may not need the pansy dust after all.
Were the World Mine is a musical, and thus features a few interludes of the sort where people start singing and dancing when this would otherwise be insane. Most of the musical asides are played as fantasy daydreams, and thus are usually a part of Timothy’s psyche rather than something that’s actually happening in the real world of the film. This is very effective, and allows for exposition that isn’t just people talking, and it doesn’t at all feel insane.
Cast: Tanner Cohen Wendy Robie, Judy McLane, Nathaniel David Becker and Zelda Williams
Director: Tom Gustafson
Screenwriter: Tom Gustafson and Cory James Krueckeberg
Producer: Tom Gustafson, Cory James Krueckeberg and Peter Sterling
Genre: Musical, Fantasy, Drama
Running time: 96 mins.
Release date: October 31 Louisville, KT, November 21 NY/SF, 12/5 Boston/San Diego, 12/12 LA/DC/Chicago