MOVIE REVIEW: STONEWALL

By: Gay.com
1.2.2009

Stonewall Don't miss Stonewall, directed by the late Nigel Finch and scripted by Rikki Beadle Blair. Loving and ribald, if a bit clunky, this tribute to the Stonewall uprising follows the fortunes -- or misfortunes as the case may be -- of a cadre of participants, notably a spunky queen named LaMiranda (Guillermo Diaz) and the clean-cut, budding activist, Matty Dean (Frederick Weller), who romances him.

Taking as its inspiration the celebrated Martin Duberman book of the same name, Stonewall is always a riot if never quite transcendent: it plays like a glam-spackled rehearsal for some well-meaning community stage play. Still, the film has energy, spunk and a reverent feel for the era when modern gay rights came of age. Like Duberman, Finch and Blair take care to announce that the stories they tell are but a few of the many histories embodied by Stonewall -- the disclaimer is a bit self-evident, an obvious hedge against imagined criticisms.

While Matty and LaMiranda are engaging lovebirds, the film is best when trolling in the peripheries, as in its depiction of a compromised mob liaison called Skinnie Vinnie (Bruce MacVittie, who nearly runs away with the picture). Meanwhile, the high-heat, '60s-beat soundtrack keeps things kickin', just as it ought to.

--Elizabeth Pincus

(1995, USA/Great Britain)
Director: Finch, Nigel
Producer: Vachon, Christine, and Ruth Caleb
Starring: Guillermo Diaz ; Frederick Weller ; Brendan Corbalis

Stonewall Don't miss Stonewall, directed by the late Nigel Finch and scripted by Rikki Beadle Blair. Loving and ribald, if a bit clunky, this tribute to the Stonewall uprising follows the fortunes -- or misfortunes as the case may be -- of a cadre of participants, notably a spunky queen named LaMiranda (Guillermo Diaz) and the clean-cut, budding activist, Matty Dean (Frederick Weller), who romances him.

Taking as its inspiration the celebrated Martin Duberman book of the same name, Stonewall is always a riot if never quite transcendent: it plays like a glam-spackled rehearsal for some well-meaning community stage play. Still, the film has energy, spunk and a reverent feel for the era when modern gay rights came of age. Like Duberman, Finch and Blair take care to announce that the stories they tell are but a few of the many histories embodied by Stonewall -- the disclaimer is a bit self-evident, an obvious hedge against imagined criticisms.

While Matty and LaMiranda are engaging lovebirds, the film is best when trolling in the peripheries, as in its depiction of a compromised mob liaison called Skinnie Vinnie (Bruce MacVittie, who nearly runs away with the picture). Meanwhile, the high-heat, '60s-beat soundtrack keeps things kickin', just as it ought to.

--Elizabeth Pincus

(1995, USA/Great Britain)
Director: Finch, Nigel
Producer: Vachon, Christine, and Ruth Caleb
Starring: Guillermo Diaz ; Frederick Weller ; Brendan Corbalis

Tags: MOVIES
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