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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
In and Out
Directed by Frank Oz
Paramount 09/97 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG-13 -- sexual content, some strong language
God cherishes diversity and has nurtured variety in land forms, life forms, cultures, and ways of knowing. Diversity is the antidote to a closed, smug mind, and a healthy reminder that no one has it all wrapped up.
In & Out stars Kevin Kline as Howard Brackett, a high school English teacher in Greenleaf, Indiana, who's forced to take a hard look at himself when one of his former students (Matt Dillon) wins an Academy Award and, in his acceptance speech, thanks Mr. Brackett, describing him as "a great teacher, and he's gay." Howard and his fiancee Emily (Joan Cusack) are stunned by this announcement. After a three-year courtship, they are set to be married in a week and Howard's mother (Debbie Reynolds) has made it clear that this wedding ceremony will be the high point of her life. The townsfolk and his students initially sympathize with the mild-mannered teacher's embarrassment but when scores of reporters arrive in the community, sentiment shifts against him. Then a media savvy reporter (Tom Selleck) shows a more than average interest in the teacher and his plight.
Screenplay writer Paul Rudnick and director Frank Oz circle around Howard's dilemma with glee and satirical panache. This comic fable about homosexuality in the heartland delivers plenty of laughs and produces a lilting finale. In & Out is a paean to diversity that proudly shows its colors.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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