David (Don Scime) is a gay man who’s spent much of his life shying away from confronting his own issues and who rarely dates. However, as the host of the radio show, Gay Talk, he’s almost a different man – confident, unashamed and ready to tackle big issues.
His sister, Kate, meanwhile, has made a major decision – she’s going to adopt a child from Brazil and wants David to help her. David agrees, even if he isn’t actually sure what to do, or if the child should know he’s gay.
While David starts a relationship, he still has hang-ups that threaten to undermine it. Then, when a major tragedy occurs, it could either destroy David and his relationship completely, or perhaps open up a few doors he wasn’t expecting.
The David Dance won numerous awards at LGBT and indie film festivals. That said, it’s not a perfect film, often feeling a little stagey and melodramatic. It has moments where it’s a little preachy, particularly during David’s first on-air chat with a conservative Christian fellow radio host, and there’s something a little artificial about how the split between his cocky on-air and his timider real life comes across.
However, thankfully, the film has a great final third, where all the pieces come together. Before that, you can tell what the movie is trying to get at – internalised homophobia, fear, projection, etc. – but while you can understand it intellectually, it’s more difficult to feel it. That changes once David starts taking charge of his life, and while some of its conclusions about its characters are a little simplistic, it becomes a far stronger film. That’s particularly true once it fully grabs onto the fact it’s really a movie about a sibling relationship, and a sister who’s been trying to get her brother to fully embrace his own life since they were kids.
It helps ensure that what starts out as an okay movie that feels like it’s trying a little too hard, suddenly becomes something a lot stronger and more interesting. What has previously felt like it was almost going through the thematic motions of gay cinema, begin to take things in directions that show a little more thought and a more considered take on what had previous seemed like relatively obvious observations about modern gay life.
With a decent emotional impact by the end and a real sensation of hope, it’s a good ending for an otherwise okay if slightly uninspired film.
Overall Verdict: For the first two-thirds of The David Dance, it’s a melodrama where it’s difficult not to feel we’ve seen it all before, but thanks to a strong ending that pulls what’s gone before into something a little deeper and more emotionally satisfying, it just about succeeds.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac