“Prom King, 2010”
“Prom King, 2010” is about a young gay romantic navigates college dating while striving to reconcile homosexuality with his classic, cinematic ideals. Charlie ( director Charlie Schaap) is a college student in The Big Apple who loves the thought of being in love and he wants to see his life played out like the best moments of his favorite movies. He wants that basic human connection between two people, without modern technology such as dating apps and casual sex. However Charlie cannot seem to find what he is looking for. He is afraid of moving out of his comfort zone, but when he is goaded on by his best male friend, Thomas (Adam Lee Brown), and he tries to find a random hook-up with a hot waiter, Ford (Frans Dam) at a local hotspot. The waiter is interested and really likes Charlie and this really messes with our hero’s mind. When the note that he leaves on a napkin with the tip results in his receiving a phone call from Ford, Charlie is ecstatic. At least when he and Ford go on some dates he finally achieves one of his goals, but the older man is neither physically or emotionally available and Charlie not only has lost his virginity and his heart is broken.
His girlfriends are there for him, and his mother and father want to see him happy and go so far as to hide his sexuality from his aunt. Every time Charlie goes home to visit his very supportive parents, they ask him if he has met anyone yet. This depresses him further especially knowing that his parents met at college and have lived happily ever after, and even his girl pals from high school are getting into serious relationships. He understands that the reality of big city culture with noisy and crowded gay bars as well as dating online are not for a young romantic like himself and he is less than enthusiastic about the future of his love life.
Charlie is so very likable and that we really care about him as we watch the film. He is cute, very clever and intelligent, funny, sassy, and good looking and he would be a great catch for the right man if he could find him. We go through all of young Charlie’s ups and downs with the men he meets and tries his luck at romance. I could not help but wonder if this is director Schaap’s own life story. One thing for sure is that this is a charming and fun film and quite a dive into the pool of film.
We worry with Charlie as each encounter he has leads him to feel that his homosexuality cannot be reconciled with the kind of Hollywood romance that he seeks.
While this is a story about New York City, what we see is universal and neither specific to gender or sexual orientation. Even though Charlie does not find the his Hollywood ending that he wants, the film ends with us feeling that he will be alright and is on the right road. Christopher Schaap is going to be a major voice in film in the years to come and that is what we really see here.