Worth A Look: 19.44%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%
3 reviews, 18 user ratings
|Iron Ladies, The
by Dust For Eyes
A team of gay volleyball players get together to show what kind of men they are in The Iron Ladies.Films or television shows that feature the gay community always seem to have at least one character who is totally off the rails and has the girly camp factor turned up to eleven. They love shopping, wear make up, go on about their fingernails and they know how to match furniture with flowers. In short they embody all that is stereotypical in a gay man.
This gay caricature is curious since being gay and being camp are completely separate concerns. Indeed, in a way being gay means a rejection of all things of the opposite sex. So why would you want to start taking an interest in things that are traditionally (or yes, stereotypically) an interest of the opposite sex?
This caricature only really exists in public displays or from people who are sucked into media manipulation like anybody can be. It is almost a false construct, but a construct that people outside the gay community latch on to, and base strong opinions on.
Some men who wanted to expand beyond that construct, formed a volleyball team and called themselves the Iron Ladies.
A prospective Volleyballer fails to win selection in a provincial team for reasons he suspects are related to his homosexuality. Fortuitously, the coach for the team he's trying for is sacked for what looks like being an old drunk.
What ever the real reason is, the new coach conducts new trials and this time two gay men make the team.
No way! we ain't playin' with no fags! The other squad members are having none of it and all bar one walk out in protest. The national championships are looming quickly and there's no time to find players who are also willing to play with the existing gay players.
If only the two gay players in the team had some gay friends who also happen to be able to play volleyball to a national championship standard. Well what do you know, they do!
Where on Earth do you get gay men who also happen to be top-level volleyball players?
Cabaret shows, weddings and of course the military.
All of these friends seem to be a deft hand at high quality volleyball - these gay Thai men set high standards for themselves.
This film is such a sugary feel good happy film that I would readily dismiss the plot as ludicrous if it wasn't for the fact that the main story line is based on facts. There really was a gay volleyball team that won the national championships in Thailand. And good on them too.
The Iron Ladies was a hit at the 2001 Mardi Gras Film Festival and it's easy to tell why. It shows a gay community being positive about themselves, fighting against the prejudice instead of just sitting back and being victims, and succeeding.
While the acting at times lacks rhythm, the performances are still engaging just as long as stereotypical portrayals don't get on your nerves.
The direction is steady without being spectacular - timing seems to be a problem. The film heavily relies on its strong story to help the film take off.
The film does provide an insight into Thailand life which is something that hasn't been seen much in international cinema. We see their living conditions, markets, the extent of western culture, family life, and how they work.
Only one of the cast members is actually gay. The straight actors went through three months of training for their roles. One wonders what made up the vigorous and intensive training .The Iron Ladies is a decent film with out sending the audience into raptures of delight. It's occasionally trite, and overly sentimental. It's minor flaws however do not detract from it's feel good story and entertaining fair.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5019&reviewer=166
originally posted: 03/26/01 18:37:01