Q Bites: Short Reviews

9 mins read

Q Bites are short reviews of LGBTQ+ films and TV shows available to rent, buy or stream now.

Four Lives (2022)

Q Bites (January 2022): FOUR LIVES is showing now on BBC iPlayer.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Over sixteen months during 2014 and 2015, Stephen Port murdered four gay/bi young men, Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, and Jack Taylor. These vibrant, energetic and loving young men were connected by their use of gay dating apps (most notably Grindr) and by the nature of their death and discovery. However, despite the clear links between each murder and ongoing interest in Port, justice and safety were denied by an incompetent, lacklustre and homophobic investigation by Barking and Dagenham Police. Here Police failures almost certainly led to the deaths of three of the young men following the discovery of Port’s first victim, Anthony.

Four Lives methodically unpicks the countless police failures at play while demonstrating the pain family and friends were put through as they were forced to become investigators in their own right. But even more importantly, Four Lives focuses on the lives of Port’s young victims and the fight of their family and friends to uncover the truth about their murders. The result is an emotional, heart-wrenching and urgent drama that places institutional homophobia in our police service under the spotlight for all to see.


I Am Syd Stone (2021)

Q Bites (January 2022): I AM SYD STONE is now available to rent, buy or stream.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Denis Theriault’s 2014 short film of the same name was expanded into a six-part web series called I Am Syd Stone in 2020 and now finds itself pulled together into a feature-length movie. However, as with many web series converted into feature-length films, I Am Syd Stone struggles to maintain its pace and loses the interest of its audience early on in the narrative. Of course, that’s not to say there are not some fascinating themes wrapped up in Theriault’s story of a closeted Hollywood star searching for inner peace and public acceptance. But unfortunately, I Am Syd Stone never rises above the soap-opera inspired melodrama at its core. The resulting film offers few deep or meaningful performances and lacks an urgently needed back story. Some may find just enough interest to see the movie through to the end, but others will find themselves tuning out after the first 35 minutes.


Beyto (2021)

Q Bites (December 2021): BEYTO is now available to rent, buy or stream.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Based on the novel Hochzeitsflug by Yusuf Yesilöz, you would be forgiven for thinking Gitta Gsell’s, Beyto was a classic coming-of-age gay drama in its opening twenty minutes. However, Gsell’s drama soon takes an interesting detour as we explore immigration, cultural homophobia, and arranged marriage. Here, the experiences of young Beyto share the screen with those of his childhood friend and bride Seher. In a film rooted in the expectations, oppression, and cultural baggage surrounding young men and women attempting to build new lives away from their home country. While it may not always find a clear voice, Beyto offers us a fascinating mix of themes and discussions that help it transcend the simplicity of the average coming-of-age gay movie.


Bliss ‘Glück’ (2021)

Q Bites (December 2021): BLISS is available to stream now on Curzon Home Cinema.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Director Henrika Kull’s second feature is both powerful yet understated, as we follow the lives of two sex workers and their search for love in each other’s arms. While our female lovers have issues that prevent their happiness, their profession is neither glossed over nor vilified. The resulting film bluntly debunks many of the stereotypes associated with sex work while embracing the fact that love and sex are two distinctly different entities in a world dominated by the male gaze.


Single All the Way (2021)

Single All The Way (L-R). Philemon Chambers as Nick, Michael Urie as Peter, in Single All The Way. Cr. Philippe Bosse/Netflix © 2021

Q Bites (December 2021): SINGLE ALL THE WAY is available to stream now on Netflix.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

While it may claim to break new ground in Christmas movie representation for the LGBTQ+ community, Single All the Way unfortunately never rises above its sickly-sweet festive Americana to create anything genuinely new. However, moments of well-timed humour and an attempt to create something different help Single All the Way rise above a plethora of straight to streaming festive releases.


Chucky: Season One (2021)

Q Bites (December 2021): Chucky is available to watch now on Sky Max and SyFy.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Who would have thought Mancini’s new foray into TV would offer us something unique and decidedly fresh. However, that is precisely what we get with Chucky; a direct sequel to the films and shows proceeding it. What makes Chucky work so well is its focus on teenage life, discrimination, difference and bullying; one could almost argue that the doll comes second to the horrors of adolescence. However, this is very much Chucky’s show, with his new owner Jake a mere plaything in his tiny, deadly hands. Sitting somewhere between teen melodrama, prequel and slasher horror, Chucky is a wild, entertaining and unique slice of TV horror – one that will not only appeal to older fans but bring on board a whole host of new ones.


Sex Education: Season Three (2021)

Sex Education Season 3. Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn in Episode 1 of Sex Education Season 3. Cr. Sam Taylor/NETFLIX © 2020

Q Bites (November 2021): Sex Education: Season Three is available to stream now on Netflix.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

While it may not feel as fresh as it once did during its third season, Sex Education has certainly not lost its bite. This is a show that joyously continues to push boundaries and elevate understanding while exuding love and humour. There are times when season three feels like a far more sophisticated and sexy version of Grange Hill, and believe me, that’s no criticism, as I haven’t seen a show make such cutting remarks on the UK’s broken school system since Grange Hill seasons 8 to 10. And while it may sag a bit in the middle, season three is a welcome and rewarding return to Moordale.


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