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It’s in the Water (1998, 100 minutes)

September 15, 2010

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Summary:

Azalea Springs is sent into a panic when a gay man jokingly announces that the town’s water made him gay. The rumor takes a life of its own as more of the town’s citizens come out of the closet.

The Review:

One of the enjoyable things about this movie is that it is not just a lesbian movie. Unlike all of the movies I have reviewed, this movie is the story of lesbians and gays. The intentional comedic tone of the movie also sets it apart from other lesbian movies. The film is packed with witty lines and “in” gay jokes. The reference to Bewitched (with its large gay cast) exemplifies this movie’s love for all things gay. As a self-affirming tale, this is a tribute to gay people. This is not a serious movie about the consequences of being gay but rather an amusing account of how a small town reacts to its growing gay and lesbian population.

There are basically two parallel stories. One of a young gay man, Mark (Derrick Sanders), struggling with his homosexuality. The other is is the story of young married woman, Alex (Keri Jo Chapman), who becomes aware of her growing attraction to women, or rather one woman. Acting like a go between between gay men and lesbians is the character of Spencer (John Hallum). As the lone, out person, Spencer carries the burden of being the town queer and having an HIV positive lover. It is his humor and positivity that most people can identify with. Who wouldn’t want a friend like Spencer? Without demeaning their importance, he brings irreverence to serious issues.

When a drunk Spencer declares that homosexuality is in the water, he sets off a series of events that lead both lead characters to face their feelings and the town’s homophobia. Mark meets his love interest at the local ex-gay meeting. As the son of the local newspaper’s owner, he oversees the exploitation of the gay water story. Alex meets her love interest at the AIDS hospice where she volunteers at. Grace(Teresa Garrett) is Alex’s best friend from high school. Grace has left an abusive husband and has found her sexuality as a lesbian. Alex becomes intrigued and begins to question her own life and romantic history. Meanwhile, the whole town reacts negatively to the AIDS facility where Alex works at. As both Alex and Mark find love and homophobia, they must face the town and their loved ones in their search for happiness.

The two women in this film generate some serious heat, especially Keri Jo Chapman. She is seriously hot. She has a lot of personality and seems to perfectly embody her character, Alex. The two women have a very . My only complaint is that the love scene should have gone on a little bit longer, but I understand those scenes can be hard to shoot. I would rather have a short honest scene, than a long false one. There are lots of looks and hand holding that add intimacy and reality to the relationship. Two lines struck a chord with me. When Alex asks Grace why she won’t kiss her, Grace confidently responds, “cause you’re gonna like it.” The other line was during the love scene when Grace says, “I have been dreaming about this since…” and Alex finishes, “eight grade.” I think a lot of us have had a secret desire to consummate our eight grade crushes. At least a sister got to do it on screen, good for her! The boy’s love story is also fulfilling but I’ll leave the in-depth review to the guys.

I liked this movie because it was so enjoyable and queer affirming. Its love for all things gay can be seen in the little homage Herd pays to other lesbian movies. When Alex is trying to figure out her sexuality, she goes out and rents lesbian movies. It’s become a kind of cliche now, but when I first saw this movie, the idea was still fresh. She rents everything from “Lianna” to “The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love.” I of all people can appreciate the need to find yourself on celluloid; but what I loved the most and what some people may find over the top, was her reaction to watching the movies. The excitement and the embarrassment! Well, needless to say, I have been there. I may be a little embarrassed to admit it, but I am sure not ashamed and neither is this movie.

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