The Gymnast (2006)

DVD Cover (Wolfe Video)
Genres: Drama, Gay & Lesbian Films, Romantic Drama
The stunning Dreya Weber stars as a former top gymnast who discovers love and a new life path when she teams up with a dancer for an ambitious Las Vegas aerial act show. --TMDb
Ned Farr Ned Farr
Dreya Weber Dreya Weber
Addie Yungmee Addie Yungmee
David De Simone David De Simone
Allison Mackie Allison Mackie
Mam Smith Mam Smith

6.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 30, 2007
Choosing the right film to kick off a gay and lesbian film festival is tough, especially when the film festival is in only its second year of existence. The 2nd Annual Birmingham SHOUT Gay & Lesbian Film Festival hit 'The Magic City' this weekend, and made its mark on Birmingham audiences in a big way, showing that it's a festival that's here to stay. Largely ignored, the gay and lesbian demographic in Alabama has finally found a place to run and jump and dance and play and celebrate something that we can all come together to appreciate - film. This year, the opening night film was the widely acclaimed "The Gymnast", which has been picking up award after award after award all over the country. While it wouldn't take home the same accolades to which it had been accustomed, it was a fine opening night selection and it went over well with gay and lesbian audiences.

Directed by Ned Farr, "The Gymnast" tells the story of 43-year-old Jane (Dreya Weber). A former Olympic gymnastic hopeful, Jane is now in a loveless marriage and her obsession seems to be staying in shape with the hopes of having a child. One day, she stumbles into a gymnasium and meets Nicole (Mam Smith), a gymnast who teaches an advanced form of gymnastics that seems like something out of Cirque de Soleil. There, Jane meets Serena (Addie Yungmee), a Korean dancer who loves her knife collection and is a closeted lesbian. She and Jane hit it off immediately and soon begin taking their relationship to the next level, causing Jane to question everything in her life, from her non-responsive husband to her desire to have a child. The film chronicles Jane and Serena as they deal with their various issues and come to realize why they both really need each other.

The most breathtaking aspect of this film was the stunning cinematography by Marco Fargnoli, whose name I immediately remembered from his work on "The Sleepy Time Gal", another largely overlooked independent film from a few years back. Here, Fargnoli captures the thrill and the magic of gymnastics and turns this particular type of gymnastics into something truly sensual and something truly engaging. The script, by Ned Farr, was not as airtight as it could have been, and it leaves a lot to be desired, but it still managed to hold the audience's attention. I also had a problem with a couple of the performances. Allison Mackie, as Jane's best friend Denise, delivered her lines like she was in a sitcom, almost begging for the laugh. This was rather distracting in that she seemed to be the only one overacting. I also thought David De Simone, as Jane's husband, was all over the place with his emotional range and never really nailed the character. But, Dreya Weber and Addie Yungmee nailed their performances and really delivered.

On the whole, "The Gymnast" is a film that deserves to be discovered by larger audiences. I don't necessarily think it will find major distribution, but it should find an audience and it should be discovered. I left the film with a sense of hope in that I had just watched a film about a woman who was, essentially, going through a mid-life crisis and found herself a way out of it. Normally, you either see that person commit suicide or do something drastic. As drastic as what Jane does might seem to some people, it seemed very calm and reflective to me. She handles herself throughout the film very admirably, and I applaud director Ned Farr's decision to do that. "The Gymnast" was a fine film, and though it had its share of flaws, it deserves you undivided attention.

grant aubin #1: grant aubin - added 01/11/2010, 01:53 AM
I'm a 49-year-old straight male, and I thought this excellent film made for absorbing entertainment. Highly recommended. I rate it 8 out of 10.
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