The well meaning documentary "Out Late" covers a group of individuals whose stories might not ordinarily get told or explored. And yet, by no means, are the tales unique or isolated--just underrepresented. The five men and women featured in this hour long film all came to not only embrace the truth about their sexuality, but made the decision to come out and live openly despite their ages ranging between 57 and 79. Most had been married, had children, and lived full lives in some form of deception. They didn't have the openness, opportunities, and role models that we have today. But proving that it's never too late to be yourself, they have chosen to defy expectations and embrace the lives they were meant to live. It's hard not to take these lessons to heart and it is only through open expressions like this that the country's attitudes will continue to evolve in relationship to homosexual and transgendered issues. Some of the stories are impassioned, some exuberant, and some gently hopeful--but at only an hour, these are but brief insights into complicated lives.
The principles include:
Elaine: Came out at 79 in full celebration mode (seemingly inspired by the TV production The L-Word).
Ken: Came out at 72 for a chance at finding companionship.
Cathy: Came out at 57, after being in a 24 year same sex partnership, in opposition to unnecessary legislation.
Walter: Came out at 60, at church no less, and enjoying life in a solid and loving relationship.
Leanna: Transgendered at 60 after a life, including military service, in which femininity was longed for.
Each person gets approximately ten minutes of screen time with a brief introduction, a brief closing, and a primary interview section. For the most part, none of these people set out to be activists or examples. Cathy in Kansas comes the closest to activism, and it is her friendship with a non-accepting neighbor that provides the piece's most frustrating and complex dynamic. But whether they meant to or not, each stands as a message of hope to a new generation to understand and appreciate who you are. Each of the five wishes they had come out earlier in life because accepting yourself is fundamental to true happiness and enlightenment. Simple, honest, sometimes surprisingly frank (some adult language and brief nudity), "Out Late" is a film for everyone and should have great cross over appeal. It provides a voice to a generation that has had to live in silence. It's not exactly the full story, but it's a great introduction to the topic and this cast of real life characters. KGHarris, 10/11.