Tuesday, September 01, 2015

"Guidance": gay satire set in school system, but inspired by "Catch Me If You Can"

The Reel Affirmations closing film was “Guidance”, directed by Pat Mills, indeed a satire about integrity.

This film struck me as almost too silly to be the closing night attraction.  I’ve reviewed a few other films here about questionable teachers and school system employees, but this one (quick at 83 minutes) dissolves into nothing.

Pat Mills also stars as David Gold, the child-star flim-flam man who talks his way into a temporary job as a guidance counselor at a Toronto high school, after being thrown out of home by his own mother as a disgrace to the family.

As the film begins, Gold is also warned by a doctor about an ugly malignant melanoma on his upper arm, put there by tanning salons. Despite the supposed generosity of the Canadian single-payer health care system, he resists treating it.

To Gold, everything is sweet talk and “self-help” manipulation.  (“I am confident, a success story.”) He hides his addiction to alcohol and drugs, but acts double-faced about being gay.  But really, this comedy would work was well with a womanizing heterosexual character.

It’s a little hard to believe he would really get hired, but the urgency of the school situation is supposed to explain it.  Maybe this would be an artefact of the idea that nobody likes to give references any more, so we “pass the trash”.

In time, Gold gets evicted from his apartment (where he has never made the rent), and becomes homeless. He gets a female student to join him on a crime spree robbing tanning salons until the merry end. 

He seems to adjust to a world of leading a self-help group in orange jumpers in prison.
The obvious inspiration for this film is Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can” (2002), with Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale, Jr.

The official site is here. The film has been picked up by Strand Releasing.

Wikipedia attribution link for residential area of Toronto by David Wilson, under Creative Commons 2.0 license. My last visit to the area was in 1982.


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