USA, 2009, 90 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Bisexual, Coming Out, Drama, Gay, Mental Health, Youth
Program: U.S. Features
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Adam Salky

A provocative look at a trio of teenagers negotiating the boundaries of friendship and sexual interest, Adam Salky’s feature length film of Dare is based on the short of the same name that screened at Frameline29 and boldly traverses a variety of terrain while upending viewers’ notions of its characters’ interior lives.

Aspiring actress Alexa (Emmy Rossum) is thrilled being cast as Blanche in her school production of A Streetcar Named Desire, yet is unaware she’s lacking the sensual knowledge to play the role. Starring along-side her is bad-boy heartthrob Johnny (Zach Gilford of Friday Night Lights) who has looks and plenty of sexuality. At a weekend bash, Alexa’s frustration with her inexperience leads to an impetuous game of dress-up and seduction aimed directly at her uninvolved co-star. Mixing up matters further is her close friend Ben (Ashley Springer), who is handling lights for the show, coming to terms with his sexuality and also developing a major crush on Johnny, who is open to everyone.

Director Salky and screenwriter David Brind divide the film into separate “chapters,” each of which focuses on one of the three protagonists. Serving as a potent reminder that people are more complex than they initially seem, this device is particularly revelatory when it comes to Johnny, perhaps the most confused and conflicted of them all. Featuring amusing cameos from queer icons Sandra Bernhard and Alan Cumming, Dare is a touching, sexy, and risk-taking film charting the frustrated dreams, thwarted ambitions and rampaging hormones of the high-school senior. — ROD ARMSTRONG

Text Voting Code: F128


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