The director/star goes through the movie, hating the sound of his voice, trying to make it sound “less gay”. He even sees a Hollywood voice coach who helps gay actors “sound straighter”.
If you’ve ever wondered about your own voice, and how gay (or not gay) you may sound, this movie may be fascinating for you. It was for me.
While the movie is structurally a bit of a muddle, it raises some really interesting questions. Here is a summary of the movie from John Hartl of The Seattle Times:
“Do I Sound Gay?” is the first feature film from Brooklyn-based David Thorpe, whose movie career began with the 2006 short “Gay Volleyball Saved My Life.”
That may sound like the setup for a joke, but Thorpe is deadly serious about one subject: internalized homophobia. It crops up again and again in his new film, in comments from both gay people who are ashamed of the way they sound and straight people who fear being labeled.
Thorpe talks to Dan Savage about the closet (“you police yourself for evidence that might betray you”); David Sedaris about telephone misunderstandings (“I don’t think I sound like a woman; I think I sound like a very small man”); and Margaret Cho, who faced a different kind of speech problem (her family tried to rid themselves of Korean accents).
This is an intelligent (if too short) exploration of gender confusion, speech therapy and the perils of coming out. The exaggeration of nelly mannerisms, especially the clips from “The Boys in the Band,” may be too much (“The Celluloid Closet” handled this sort of thing with more depth), but the segment on campy Disney cartoons is fascinating.
I strongly recommend the movie. It gives us a lot to think about (and that’s a good thing).