Billy, a flamboyant kid has grown up in the company of his mother’s glamour world. He has never worn anything that he doesn’t like, which makes him wear all kind of funky, fashionable, gender non-confirming clothes with makeup. But when she has to go for rehab (which we find out quite later in the film), he has to go live with his father for one semester of high school and this is where all the problems begin. Billy has always had strained relationship with his father but thats not what he cares about. He is ridiculed and mocked, as expected, for his appearances in college. But an expected friendship from a girl Mary Jane and an even more surprising friendship from the dreamboy football star Flip , makes things a little better for him. When Billy is beaten in school and lands in a 5 day coma, we find that he would have been dead, had Flip not intervened. Flip and Billy become close as friend and it is revealed that Flip is a footballer with the soul of an artist. Billy ultimately comes back to school , where his attackers have been expelled and there is a new zero-tolerance policy. He becomes celebrity in the school but just for a short while. But after a while the hostility towards Billy just keeps growing and after a near-suicide attempt, Billy decides to run for homecoming queen. He promotes himself as a freak who is here to make people aware of tolerance. The film ends with a predictable wrap-up. Billy loses the contest but it as never about winning. His father has a change of heart thanks to some counseling by the house-keeper. The hiccup in Billy-Flip friendship, comes back to normal and everyone in high school accept Billy for who he really is.
The first impression that the film leaves you is the effort that has gone into Billy’s wardrobe. We see everything that you can or cannot imagine. I know one of the things that I kept looking forward to is what he is gonna wear next. On the flip side, there are random side stories that play which doesn’t add much to the meat. Billy’s mom returning to tell how she never wanted a kid, Billy’s closet gay stalker, other football coaches, Billy’s random stage scenes are some of the scenes that didn’t make much sense to me. I am a simple viewer and sometimes expect simple things but maybe it works for the teenagers who, I guess, would be the target audience for the film. I do like the bond that Billy shares with Flip and thank the lord, the makers didn’t try to mess it up by showing them in love. Some relationships are good in the way they are and Flip’s and Billy’s unconditional friendship is a testament. Yes, Billy may have feelings for him but he is intelligent enough to keep those to himself, like we witness when his caretaker points this out to him. And what about the sudden change in heart of Billy’s dad. That was random, hollow and completely unearned. It felt fake. The film is saved by a brilliant performance by the actor playing Billy who gives his heart and soul to the character and brings life to it.
A tighter editing and focus on prime story could have made this film a tremendous effort to represent kids who struggle to be accepted for who they are. This a step in the right direction, because the heart is in the right place. Now we just need to balance between reality and aspirations. (6/10)