DATELINE: Paraplegic Love Story
Perhaps the weakest part of this low-budget character study is its bland title that gives no quarter to the subject: a paraplegic young gay man who decides he will race in a wheelchair, damn the consequences. The film is titled Morgan, like a dozen other stories and does not help to distinguish it.
Leo Minaya is effectively cute and a good actor who holds the center stage on the story and its difficulty in playing someone bound to a chair. Second, the story has a gay love story angle, but it is refreshing in not overwhelming us with gay sex, which is always a central part of these kind of stories.
The protagonist’s handicap status would be a game-killer in most tales.
Oh, somewhere in the middle we have the obligatory love scene, but the real conflicts are about a stubborn athletic competitor who is given life’s bum rush. He resents it and begins to ruin the remains of his life through his anger and obsessions.
When he announces he wants what he deserves out of life, his boyfriend tells him, “Maybe you already got it.”
The cast is small and rather humble in their roles (a black woman best friend, a doting and kindly mother, an officious doctor to remind him he can no longer have ejaculations).
The gay component takes a backseat to the sad reality of a small-time life that requires big-time adjustments.
Perhaps unrealistic on some levels, like finding true love that has staying power, the film chooses to be ultimately optimistic and illustrating that one can adjust to adversity.
Director and writer Michael Akers has presented a vision that deserves to be seen. Leo Minaya truly dominates the film and is exactly what you want in his performance.