Back to Dale Reynolds' Reviews - Home

That’s Not Us (TLA Releasing/DVD/2015)

LGBTQI films come in many different sizes, flavors and points-of-view. A new film which did quite well in last year’s LGBT film-festivals is “That’s Not Us,” a 97-minute dramedy about three couples – gay, lesbian, straight – who spend a weekend on Fire Island, offshore from Long Island, New York.

They’re all friends, these six, one of whose auntie owns this fabulous house near the beach. Turns out it’s the wrong house, but since it’s autumn, hardly anyone is there – the Season is over – so no one knows.

The six are all under-30, professionals, middle-class, nice. They have all been in their respective relationships for awhile, but the cracks in said relationships are beginning to show on this particular weekend.

William C. Sullivan and his boyfriend, Derek Dodge, concocted the paralleling stories in a cogent and humane fashion, keeping all six recognizable:  Alex (Sarah Wharton) and Jackie (Nicole Pursell) have reached the widely-recognized Lesbian Death-Bed Syndrome, where keeping the sex on par with the emotional connection has now flat-lined;  Spencer (David Rysdahl) and James (Mark Berger) have a problem in that Spencer is agonizing whether to go to graduate school in another state, leaving James temporarily (or so it’s hoped) behind; and tough Liz (Elizabeth Gray) and mild Dougie (Tommy Nelms) are finding that some of his straight-male hang-ups (no one should know he cannot ride a bicycle!) are beginning to interfere with their truth-telling.

How the couples manage their issues is the point of the film, well-handled on all levels. The actors deal with their character’s issues without any excessive drama, allowing us to be concerned for their couple-futures. Dodge’s cinematography and Sullivan’s editing are excellent, although the improv-nature of the filming made for some odd choppiness in the final print, but not terribly distracting. In addition, Xander Singh’s music adds to the various tensions.

The film is fun, advancing notions of friendship evolving past the “my tribe/your tribe” conflicts. Straight, gay or lez means nothing when honest human emotions enter the picture; we all gots our problems, oh yes, we do.

“That’s Not Us”