50 Ways of Saying Fabulous | Chicago Reader

50 Ways of Saying Fabulous

A wonderfully expressive performance by child actor Andrew Patterson propels this seriocomic study of growing up gay in rural New Zealand in the 70s. Patterson plays plump, girlish 12-year-old Billy, who doesn't understand why his friends (including his tomboy cousin) call him a “poofter”—he doesn't even know what a poofter is. His tentatively sexual relationship with a geeky but precocious new boy at school is threatened when he develops a crush on the teenage handyman for his family's farm. Adapted by writer-director Stewart Maina from a novel by Graeme Aitken, this alternately hilarious and poignant 2005 feature is marred by melodramatic overplotting toward the end, but it sensitively conveys the paradoxical sweetness and cruelty of children's relationships. 90 min.

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