Different Story, A (1978)

“Yes I have, several, and not particularly.”

Different Story Poster

Synopsis:
A lesbian real estate agent (Meg Foster) allows a homeless gay illegal immigrant (Perry King) to live with her, and they eventually become friends, then spouses, then lovers, then parents.

Genres:

Review:
It’s unclear why Peary included this controversial indie film in the back of his GFTFF: is it because of Meg Foster’s strong performance in a leading role originally slated for Susan Sarandon, or because he found the subject matter itself intriguing? While I rented this title with an open mind, prepared to engage with what did indeed sound like a “different [romantic] story” (apparently based on a real couple), I was disappointed to find that, despite a promising start, it quickly devolves into a scenario that’s not only implausible and offensive but dull. Screenwriter Henry Olek seems to think that Kelly’s “feminine” interest in clothing design is enough to remind us that he’s still (supposedly) gay even after marrying Foster; meanwhile, once Foster gives up her lesbian “lifestyle”, the only representation of lesbianism we’re left with is her pathologically clingy and neurotic ex-girlfriend (Valerie Curtin).

The Gay [and Lesbian] Activists Alliance wrote a letter of concern upon the film’s release, and it’s easy to see why: a movie which posits that a gay man and woman can suddenly find not only love but sexual satisfaction with one another feeds directly into the toxic fantasy that homosexuality can be “cured”, especially once a kid arrives on the scene. Clearly, this kind of scenario does occasionally happen — see IMDb user posts for at least one example; but it’s handled here with such lack of insight and nuance that this story really would have been better off not being told at all.

Note: Kelly’s status as a Belgian illegal immigrant (purely a plot device — it’s the reason Foster marries him to begin with) is clumsily handled as well: when Foster asks him why he doesn’t have an accent, he declares it’s because he “doesn’t want one” (!!!).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Meg Foster as Stella
    Different Story Foster

Must See?
No; feel free to skip this one, unless you’re curious.

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