Film Scouts Reviews

"Late Bloomers"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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March 14, 1996

One of the big hits at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin is also one of the big hits of Sundance. After all, a rose is still a rose, a romance is a romance even if it is a lesbian love story. Sisters Julia and Gretchen Dyer have that special shorthand that makes movie making simpler, and it shows in the direction and screenwriting of "Late Bloomers".

School secretary, Carly Lumpkin thinks that geometry teacher, Dinah Groshardt is having an affair with her algebra teacher husband. The two women form a fast friendship once the truth is out and friendship gives way to a goofy but real romance. The temptation to make a political statement is side-stepped in favor of a warm and witty love story.

Gretchen Dyer is still looking at distribution deals and it is rewarding to have recognition after the numerous problems associated with making a "lesbian" film. Every request but one was turned down for brand-name product placement. A cheerleading coach was fired for being associated with the film on the basis of being "a bad role model for teenage girls". No public high school in Texas wanted to be associated with the subject matter so the nature of the story was disguised to gain access. But the local film industry was as generous as the others had been stingy. Even the two stars, Dee Hennigan and Connie Nelson pitched in with fundraising. And the results are well worth the effort.

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