Film Threat archive logo


By Daniel Wible | January 20, 2005

“What is that ungodly thing?” “It looks like an octopus.”

“This is the vagina!”

And so begins the fabulously perverse and brilliant little gem that is “Late Bloomer”. If you thought your seventh grade sex-ed experience was troubling, you have nothing on the unnamed boy at the center of this film. For him, Miss Lovecraft’s lecture on the male and female reproductive systems is apocalyptically terrifying to the point of insanity. It all starts with the sight of a giant Vagina, or a giant chalk-drawn depiction of one, at least. Then the Penis is unveiled like a demon freshly summoned from the bowels of hell. If He is the One Who is Not To Be Named, then surely the unholy union of these two ancient gods of carnality is One Which We Do Not Even Think! Transfixed by these preposterous images and their strange implications, the boy begins to descend into the darkest depths of his psyche, to places where few mortals have ever dared tread. His female classmates begin to writhe like lustful sirens, sweat explodes from his every pore, his classroom transforms into an alien landscape of hidden dangers, and that damn Vagina comes alive, threatening to swallow him whole. His downward spiral culminates with an insane, orgiastic thanksgiving, in which he speaks in tongues, proclaiming his allegiance to the almighty Vagina and Penis, and cavorts with the thrashing females, now in the full throes of ecstasy. Of course, this is all in the boy’s head and nothing particularly untoward is ever actually shown (hey, these are kids after all, you sicko!).

Without a doubt, “Late Bloomer” is one of the funniest things I have seen in some time. Describing the film’s “plot” cannot possibly do justice to this fine example of short filmmaking, which might otherwise sound like some disturbing bit of exploitation. Directed by Craig Macneill from a script by Clay McLeod Chapman, “Late Bloomer” is in fact a spot-on re-creation of the horrors of sexual awakening. The filmmakers’ take on this fascinating subject is not only bold and honest, it is also utterly hilarious, thanks mostly to the deliciously creepy voice-over work of screenwriter Chapman. As the inner voice of the boy most affected by Miss Lovecraft’s wild revelations, Chapman sounds like a deranged poet who’s clearly spent too much time studying that other Lovecraft while in the asylum. His fevered hysteria during the boy’s ultimate breakdown rivals that of the great Gene Wilder for sheer simulated delirium, a true spectacle indeed. As the boy himself, first-time actor Sam Borenzweig is wonderfully expressive. Without uttering a word, Borenzweig conveys confusion and panic and that hell-and-back glint like a pro. I’m sure it was difficult for the filmmakers to find a young actor to star in such a… touchy role, but I doubt they could’ve done any better than Borenzweig. Overall, “Late Bloomer” is surely a film not to be missed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon