Made long before the Mark Foley scandal, Poster Boy is nonetheless a juicy reminder of the hypocrisy of the right wing in regard to the gays in their realm.
Young Henry Kray (played by a rather cute Matt Newton) is the song of a rabidly anti-gay senator in a tight re-election campaign. It doesn’t help much that Michael Lerner, who plays the senator, looks more like the young man’s grandfather, or that Karen Allen (as his mother) seems to be channeling Vivien Leigh’s ventures into Tennessee Williams territories with her faux-Dixie flutterings. In any even, Henry is pressured to introduce his father at a rally in an attempt to get the youth vote.
Henry’s homosexuality is unknown to his parents, but Henry’s involvement with a liberal activist (Jack Noseworthy) inevitably cue the removal of those pesky closet hinges. Throw in an emotionally unstable HIV-positive student (Valerie Geffner) and belligerent gay rights advocates and the political stew is ready to boil over.
In substance, Poster Boyis a connect-the-dots affair - it is no surprise how the film is going to wind up, particularly when it is framed by a tell-all interview between the winsome Henry and a slob of a reporter. In style, it is a cheaply-made shot-on-video production that often looks more like a student movie than a professional production. But in spirit, it provides an often-eloquent reminder of the pain that many young gay people feel in confronting their own identity in the face of a hostile environment. No one said coming out was easy, particularly if there is a world of pressure to stop that declaration of one’s self. Yet the film, with its winning ensemble and air of sincerity, offers an affirmation that conservatives are not ready to be casting that proverbial first stone.