Even though I have awarded this the coveted five star rating, I ought to begin with a warning. Don’t view
this film on a gay first date! It is profoundly moving…almost devastating in its impact. Watch it,
instead, with a smart, good friend (preferably gay) whom you’ve known for a while. But, by all means, do
A non-spoiler plot description would make this seem like a simple, perhaps mundane, movie. The central
character, Duncan Mudge, is a fourteen year old boy (probably gay) who is out of the main social loop of his
peers. He occasionally dresses in some articles of clothing that had belonged to his recently deceased
mother. It is a familiar story of a young social outcast trying to reconcile his unique identity with his
desire to earn acceptance and friendship, particularly the friendship of a neighbor boy, a deeply closeted latent
homosexual. Such a description, though, does not do the film justice.
This film perfectly captures the rural America that I used to experience in visits to farming distant
relatives. It was as if I had been in Duncan’s house, met his peers and listened to the sparse words of his
father. I’ve seen the landscape and tasted the dust. The detailed sense of place in this film reveals
the superb direction and the work done by all who worked on the production crew.
All the performers are convincing in their portrayals, especially the three leading actors: Emile Hirsch
(Duncan), Tom Guiry (Perry, the neighbor boy) and the always worthy Richard Jenkins as Duncan’s father.
The impact of The Mudge Boy comes from the plot twists that I have not included in my brief synopsis,
above. My partner and I both felt emotionally drained and devastated at the end. However, the powerful
themes of this superb motion picture make it worth your time…even if you’re not a gay man. Just leave time
to digest it!