Men Like Us
Director: Chris Banks
There is no way I can do this great film justice in a 300-word review. The opening sequence of Men Like Us illustrates the abundance of heterosexual images found in Western culture and sets the scene for nine men’s stories to be told, most of which begin with the way in which they were raised to believe that homosexuality was a choice, and a negative one at that.
The men range in age from early 20s to late 70s and come from all walks of life and areas of the country, all united in their struggle to come to terms with what it means to be gay in 21st century New Zealand. The diversity of the interviewees is what makes for such a great watch. The group of men includes a Maori, a Catholic priest, a Chinese immigrant, and a speed-skating Olympian, who come together to discuss issues such as body image and masculinity, school bullying, suicide and bereavement, HIV, drugs, and religion.
What makes the documentary so great is how unassuming it is. There are no stereotypes, expectations, or labels. It is just an honest look at what it is like to live in New Zealand schools, sports, churches, and towns as a gay man. The film doesn’t “do anything” to showcase the men’s homosexuality, but just invites you into their lives to reveal the struggles they have had and the issues that gay men face every day.
Hopefully Men like Us will be seen by a wider audience than just the gay community. Given the recent same-sex marriage legislation in Parliament, perhaps more people will choose to watch this candid film.
5 / 5 stars