Friday, April 24, 2009

Reverend's Reviews: Found and Lost

From any perspective — gay or straight, black or white — Finding Me (newly released on DVDby TLA Video) can't be judged a very good movie. The photography is amateurish, the script inconsistent and the acting mixed. But it gets points for its noble goal of bringing greater awareness to the coming-out struggles of young African-American gay men, which can be more difficult than for white gay men due to unique and enduring cultural taboos.

Finding Me focuses on Faybien (RayMartell Moore), who lives with his homophobic, immigrant father in a Jersey City housing project. Both are still grieving the death of Faybien's mother three years earlier. Faybien longs to find a better job and a loving man, but continuously misses job interviews and is too afraid to say "hello" to the hot guy he keeps spying at a nearby bus stop.

After intense encouragement from his friends, Faybien finally breaks the ice with Lonnie (Derrick L. Briggs, who delivers the best performance in the film). Despite seeming bound together by little more than their good looks and mutual admiration for the 1997 movie Love Jones, Lonnie and Faybien embark on a rocky affair that is repeatedly undermined by Faybien's self-acceptance issues. Why the more mature Lonnie continually puts up with Faybien's refusal to return his phone calls or be seen in public with him is only one of the script's head-scratching mysteries.

Written and directed by Roger S. Omeus Jr., Finding Me has occasional snippets of insightful dialogue, refreshing humor and romantic/sexual heat. The film meanders, though — not unlike its protagonist — and fails to be truly satisfying.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

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