Out late yesterday. In early today. Judge Franck Tabouring is a busy, busy man.
It's never too late to be yourself.
Beatrice Alda's and Jennifer Brooke's documentary Out Late offers viewers a compelling look at five individuals who came out as lesbian, gay, or transgender at a very late stage in their lives. Genuine to the core and both courageous and thought-provoking, the film gives a voice to a group of seniors whose decision to uncover their true sexual identity is sending them on an adventure they have all been awaiting for a lifetime.
Out Late runs for just a short hour, giving each of the film's five participants roughly 10 minutes to share their story and explain what exactly made them come out this late in their lives. Digging into their past and evaluating to what extent their lifestyle has changed ever since their big announcement, they touch on the pros and cons of living openly among family and friends and briefly discuss the various regrets, fears, and challenges they are currently facing.
The first interviewee we get to meet is Elaine, who came out of the closet at 79. Still going strong and filled with energy, she's living her life to the fullest extent, enjoying TV's The L-Word and actively trying to find a partner. Also part of the featured group is Walter, who came out at 60 and is fortunate enough to be in a solid relationship already. Then there's Ken, who opened up about his sexuality at 72 and has been eager to explore everything being gay is about. Cathy came out at 57 and has been in a relationship with a woman for a long time, and Leanna transgendered at age 60.
If there is one thing three of these five folks have in common, it's the strong desire to find a loving partner and enter a committed relationship. At their age, this proves to be a very challenging task, which is one of the reasons they mostly regret not coming out earlier. That said, none of these individuals regret coming out in the first place; for them, it was a liberating decision freeing them from a previous lifestyle they simply didn't fully connect with.
Alda and Brooke deserve some praise for not turning Out Late into a broader pro-GLBT campaign. Although they obviously can't stay away from politics entirely, they keep the focus on their five interviewees and their specific stories, emphasizing the human aspect and the many ways these people are now happier than they've ever been. Their stories are both inspirational and engaging, proving yet again that it's never too late to really be who you want to be.
The film doesn't rely on fancy production values to stand out. Standard interviews intercut with fitting B-Roll is all you get to experience in Out Late, and to tell you the truth, there's nothing else you need to fully enjoy the experience. The characters Alda and Booke found for this project bring along plenty of entertainment, and watching them speak up and try to integrate with their new community remains engaging throughout.
On DVD, Out Late looks and sounds just fine. The film uses a lot of older footage that obviously doesn't entirely match the quality of the more recent material. Overall, however, both image and sound do the job. A small bonus section includes a statement by the directors and brief bios of the film's characters. A GLBT resource section is included as well.
Out Late is a little jewel, plain and simple. Watching these five seniors share their coming out stories is truly inspiring and emotional experience, further strengthening the argument for equality in all aspects of live, especially sexual identity. Powerful and important throughout, this is a documentary you shouldn't miss.
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