Not rated | Time: 1:17
“Do I Sound Gay?” follows the misadventures of a homosexual who is having a crisis of sorts about whether his voice comes off as too … gay.
It’s cute and easy to watch, though we can’t help overcome the feeling that it’s an unambitious film about an ambitious topic.
Director David Thorpe is the star of his own documentary, which proves to be both an inspiration and an impediment. On one hand, his efforts to butch up his voice (he visits a speech therapist, all kinds of experts) are amusing and give the story a much-needed personal touch. But his jocular tone often undermines the larger issues that he raises: bullying, stereotyping, internalized homophobia, and the social and linguistic factors that influence our voices.
Indeed, when Thorpe is exploring the more weighty issues, his film is quite thought-provoking. We are treated to interesting perspectives from Margaret Cho, Don Lemon, David Sedaris, George Takei and most notably, Dan Savage — but they are overwhelmed by Thorpe’s story.
And his story — his quest for change — is not always convincing. Thorpe is a seasoned New Yorker who’s been out for decades, and seems very much at ease with himself. We have our doubts whether he’s losing sleep over how his voice sounds, and that goes, too, for the revelations about himself that he proclaims near the end. We can’t help but wish that Thorpe had acted more like an emcee than a subject.
Nevertheless, there’s not a boring moment here. Whatever Thorpe thinks of his voice, his wit takes him a long way.
(At Screenland Crossroads.)
| David Lewis,
San Francisco Chronicle