Film Review: SEBASTIAN (Canada 2017)

Sebastian Poster
Starring James Fanizza, Alex House and Katya from RuPaul’s Drag Race (Brian McCook). Alex and Sebastian meet one fateful evening and it’s love at first sight.

SEBASTIAN is the new gay romance film written and directed by James Fanizza, an expansion of his short film in 2014 which he wrote but did not direct.  The film had its premiere at last year’s INSIDE OUT LGBT Film Festival and finally gets a commercial release.  The film is not to be confused with Derek Jarman’s 1976 SEBASTIANE or the Dirk Bogarde 1968 film romance SEBASTIAN.

When the film begins, Alex (James Fanizza) is introduced to his boyfriend, Nelson’s (Guifré Bantjes-Rafols) cousin, SEBASTIAN (Alex House) from Buenos Aires, Argentina.   From the way Alex and Sebastian eye each other, one knows it is just a matter of time when they get into bed together.  Which they do.

The question is then: “Is it ok for one to sleep with ones boyfriend’s cousin?”  Or rather: “Is it ok to sleep with your cousin’s boyfriend?”  Either way, it does not look like a good idea.  Especially in the Latino culture, as Sebastian says at one point in the film only to be corrected by Alex:  “…. or in any other culture.”  So, Fanizza puts in the excuse that the relationship between Alex and Nelson is not going on too well.

Fanizza’s gay romance goes through all the motions of a gay romantic comedy.  Do not expect any new revelations or insight.  The two leads are attractive hunky and the sex scenes are executed tastefully with no nastiness.

One can tell that the original short film has been padded to make a feature length film.  There is dialogue taking time where the two discuss their favourite food or favourite colour.  Their family background is also brought in, with Sebastian haven gay coming-out problems with his mother in Argentina.  The aunt he is staying with is accepting and pleasant enough.  Other time-wasters: Sebastian buys Alex a record.  No time to hear it that night?  Hear it the night after.  The two attend a show put on my a friend of Alex.

It turns out the padded show is quite so entertaining.   The drag show is performed by a campy Xenia (Katya Zamolodchikova).  The dance beats at the club are catchy and other drag performers (from RuPaul’s Drag Race) are also a pleasure to watch.  Queer culture has seldom been represented to be so much fun!  Katya steals every scene he/she is in whether in drag or in man’s attire.  Fanizza also gives Xenia the best lines: “Alex has a problem.  He is a pussy.” 

Fanizza is a graduate from York University, Toronto and an actor. He is immediately recognizable from a commercial (I cannot remember which one) which is currently playing on TV.  Alex House looks like a young Roy Depuis and is good enough in his undemanding role.

SEBASTIAN is an ok gay movie that is entertaining enough.  Just sit back and relax to the light gay romantic comedy.  It would be interesting to see the short version of SEBASTIAN as well.



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