Josh (Boomer Brigman) is bringing his boyfriend Darius (Glenn Fleary) home for Thanksgiving to meet the family, and before they go inside, Josh warns Darius that his family can be a bit racist (which could be problematic, considering Darius is African-American). The two are then happily welcomed into the home, and save for an awkward moment or two, nothing too horribly racist occurs. It’s only at dinner where things really get testy, when conversation turns to homosexuality. Is Josh’s family as intolerant as he warns, or is there a respectful ground to be found amongst the differing opinions?
One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others seems to wrap up on an optimistic note, even if it isn’t clear exactly which prejudice the family is trying to overcome. Is Dad (Joe Gillen) racist, homophobic or both? I was never really sure if anyone, beyond Mom (Sandy Newberg), seemed to understand what it meant when Josh brought a guy home to dinner, so it’s hard to give points to Dad when he sets his arguments aside to ask Darius to join him in watching football. Is he okay with Darius being black AND homosexual, or is he only aware of one? He seems unaware that his son is gay, so it’s not clear exactly what tolerance, if any, he seems to be cultivating by film’s end.
While no one actor’s performance is particularly memorable, it’s hard to find fault with them so much as the characters they’ve been asked to portray, who are somewhat one-dimensional. On the sound and vision side of things, everything looks fine and sounds okay, so there’s nothing spectacular there either. Across the board, this is just an okay film, with the question consistently falling back on the narrative and what, exactly, it’s trying to get across.
Overall, considering the confusing ambiguity of prejudices and tolerances, along with the very simplified arguments in all directions, One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others has the taste of a very surface-level story. If there’s subtlety and nuance in life, there isn’t much in this film and by tackling things so obviously and earnestly (and using the unoriginal premise of “child bringing their new loved one home to meet the dysfunctional family”), you’re left without much to work with other than everyone embodying a flat caricature of their ideas or beliefs. Maybe it makes for an interesting anecdote among friends (“you won’t believe what my Dad said at Thanksgiving…”), but it isn’t the most compelling thing to watch, even as a short film.
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