Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has said that Sacha Baron-Cohen’s latest film Bruno is likely to cause discomfort to both straight homophobes and gay men.
Writing in Attitude magazine, he said: “While the film scores plenty of laughs by mercilessly exposing dim-witted homophobes, Bruno’s persona also embodies some really lazy, crude gay stereotypes. A sex-obsessed “cockaholic,” he is a shallow bitchy queen who uses and abuses everyone around him. Not nice.
“On the plus side, ultra gay Bruno will make many bigoted straight people feel uncomfortable, which is a delicious prospect. But quite a few gay men watching this movie may also squirm with discomfort.
“Does Bruno reinforce or undermine homophobia? I am not sure. If Cohen’s intention was to mock prejudice, this film doesn’t always pull off the money shot. Compared to Borat, it is more hit and miss.”
Tatchell went on to list some of the more outrageous segments in the film, including one where Bruno openly flirts with a an ex-gay Christian therapist, causing palpable alarm in the man.
He concluded: “The movie rolls back the boundaries, with its in-your-face raw portrayals of gay sexuality. Some might argue that this honesty and debunking of taboos is refreshing and ground-breaking. But do these no-holds-barred erotic depictions advance or reverse public acceptance of queer life?
“Surely no cinema can be so influential that it sways public opinion for or against prejudice? After all, it is only a film. Moreover, it is a comedy and was never intended to be taken seriously. Fair point. But although it may not create homophobia, perhaps it can reinforce and inflame it? Go see Bruno. You decide.”