My feelings about the film Brüno have been mixed since its release. I, like many others, struggled with whether this film was a step forward or backward for the gay community. On the one hand, it was unabashedly and unashamedly gay in ways that no other mainstream film has ever been, but on the other, it is a problematic and stereotypical portrayal of gay men and doesn’t even touch on the rest of the LGBTQ community.
When I first saw Brüno, I admit I did think that it was really funny. I also thought it was really refreshing to see a gay movie that was actually funny. And I lauded it for being to outwardly gay in ways that many people criticized it for.
I, unlike the ladies on the view, didn’t find the sex too explicit at all. I found it realistic. This is a movie about a gay man and while all gay men don’t have sex like that or enjoy those things, some do. And gay sex involves the anatomy that these ladies are so uncomfortable with. Were a gay man, like Brüno, to get a camera and make a movie like this, this is what it would look like. And, like I said, I thought it was really funny.
I do, however, understand the criticism that it is a harmful portrayal of gay men. It is true that the character falls victim to what I like to call “Jack-McFarland-Syndrome.” He is vapid, stupid, narcissistic, flamboyant, pushy, and annoying.
With all of this in mind I recently stumbled upon this video from infoMania on Current TV:
Having seen this, I re-watched Brüno, and I must say I whole-heartedly agree with Conor Knighton. I think that his statement, “being gay is just the set-up, America is the joke.” This expresses what I had been trying to find words to say about Brüno since I first watched it. The ones that really make you laugh are the people he encounters and their reactions to him being gay. And, while it is a little bigger and more outrageous than reality, there have been times when I have felt like just as big of a queen as Brüno in a room full of straight people.
So, yes, I have finally decided that I am in favor of Brüno. While I do think that it has problems in terms of representation, I think we are meant to laugh at the straight people, not the gay ones. I, personally, am going to vote in the step forward column.
What do you think? Step forward or step back?