Misfits seems to be a controversial title for a film that attempts to deal with the subject of homosexuality in young people’s lives. This warts-and-all documentary focuses on the stories of several teenagers who struggle to come out while living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the most traditionally Christian cities in the USA. Described as “the buckle in the Bible Belt”, Tulsa acts as an oppressive backdrop fueled by the 2000 churches and, contrastingly, only containing one gay youth centre.
Natural rawness is something that breathes out of the documentary from the onset, with each character being allowed to tell their story without interruption or questioning. The laid-back documentary style is a theme that allows the film to flow, almost like an episode of Big Brother, as we are introduced to Larissa, Benny and D. The rawness resonates not only in the filming style but also in the characters’ personal stories as they are filled with genuine emotion and heartfelt pain.
The free-flowing narrative is a refreshing change from the typical documentary style, however there are also moments where the lack of structure does mean that the film loses focus slightly. The one theme that does shine through is the constant juxtaposition between the church and the lives of the characters: despite each person having to overcome their own issues, they still shine as inspirational people who are determined to live their own lives; the church is portrayed as an uncompromisingly traditional, cold villain.
The title, Misfits, becomes extremely ironic, as the documentary successfully shows that the characters’ lives are just as normal as any teenager growing up in a quiet city. Although D, Benny and Larissa may have suffered abuse that implies they are different, all they want is to live as normally as possible, free from prejudice and persecution. Spildsboel does an impressive job of keeping the story stripped-back and fluid to match the pure honesty of the character’s lives and show each of their extraordinary stories.
Misfits does not yet have a UK release date.
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Watch the trailer for Misfits here: