KULT Underground

una della più "antiche" e-zine italiane – attiva dal 1994

In&Out (English)

3 min read


USA, 1997
Frank Oz
Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack, Matt Dillon, Tom Selleck
Paul Rudnick Holmes
Ron Hahn
Scott Rudin
Lucky Red
1h and 30′


I’m no longer convinced of the proverb that you can’t tell a book by its cover. This is after seeing the movie "In & Out", which shows how people are convinced that the teacher Howard Brackett is homosexual, because of his external appearance which is neat and ordered and also his well-mannered behaviour. According to this convinction homosexual men don’t have deep voices or rude behaviour and are not coarse, they love literature, dancing and Barbara Streisand. The fault of this movie probably lies in the fact that the psychological and personal aspect is lacking. The story is quite enjoyable and it is good for a fun evening out. I’m aware that it is a comedy, but I would have liked to see a more psychological analysis of this matter.
The existence of homosexuality is a well-accepted reality and it is now a source of new and numerous screeplays. Our film parodies the world of Hollywood and obviously parodies the conformist and respectable society which views only "normal" heterosexual people. Moreover it describes the difficulty homosexuals have in recognizing and accepting themselves as they are. Set in the most traditional American province which is invaded by mass media because the news of the teacher’s homosexuality was revealed by one of his old students, now a star, during the Oscar nomination ceremony. The story is developed in every amusing way, and it contains some very amusing moments. Kevin Kline (the teacher) is very good at playing the role of a man with two identities and he is helped by excellent actors. The character of his fiancée Emily (Joan Cusack, who I think is worthy of the Oscar nomination) is very amusing and funny. Unfortunately she is the first to suffer the main consequences of her fiancé’s "outing". Only the old student (Matt Dillon) will be able to wake her from the nightmare of living in a complete gay society, releasing her passionate and female nature trapped under her wedding dress. Someone could be a bit affected by the kiss between Kevin Kline and "Magnum P.I." macho, Tom Selleck, reappearing on the scenes without a moustache, who defines the moment of "outing" as the most natural and simple thing to do in order to accept ourselves and be accepted by others.
I think that though it is so funny, the screenplay suggests something that it is a source of reflection and discussion, an expression of cinema which portrays serious subject matters from a comical viewpoint , with a comicity which is not vulgar or off-the-wall. Last but not least: those men, "the true ones", will resent the view of this story, so we warn them that it is not good for those with "a delicate stomach" or for those who consider themselves "true men".

Beatrice Di Venosa


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