Do I Sound Gay? (2014)

Movie


Do I Sound Gay? (2014)

Approaching middle age, David Thorpe, South Carolina born and bred but who has lived most of his adult life in New York City, laments his single gay status at this stage in his life. In his self-critical view, he blames that single status partly on what he considers his stereotypical gay sounding voice, something that he himself does not like and believes that most gay men do not like in others in wanting partners who are more masculine sounding. David goes to vocal coaches/speech therapists to help him transform his voice into what he considers that more standard sounding nondescript male voice. Concurrently, he speaks to gay celebrities about their voice and what if anything they did to it, and to historians and other experts about how the gay voice came into being, its history and if there is any thought to it being biologically inherent to gay men, or if it truly is a product of environment. He also talks to long time friends and family members about his own gay voice, which may have emerged on a more conscious level than he would have initially thought. Through the entire process, David comes to some conclusions about that voice which may also surprise him.
USA
IMDb   5.7 /10
Metacritic   65 %
Creators
Director David Thorpe
Writer David Thorpe
Writer Maeve O'Boyle
Information
Release Date2015-07-09
Runtime1h 17min
GenreDocumentary
Content RatingUnrated (Unrated)
AwardsAwards1 win & 1 nomination
CompanyImpact Partners, Little Punk, ThinkThorpe
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish, French
David Thorpe
David Thorpe
Selfas Self
Selfas Self
Selfas Self
David Sedaris
David Sedaris
Selfas Self
Michael Airington
Michael Airington
Selfas Self
Richard Barrios
Richard Barrios
Selfas Self
Selfas Self
Becky Collins
Becky Collins
Selfas Self
Selfas Self
Selfas Self
Zach King
Zach King
Selfas Self
Don Lemon
Don Lemon
Selfas Self
Benjamin Munson
Benjamin Munson
Selfas Self
Susan Sankin
Susan Sankin
Selfas Self
Dan Savage
Dan Savage
Selfas Self
Ron Smyth
Ron Smyth
Selfas Self
Kenji Yoshino
Kenji Yoshino
Selfas Self

Do I Sound Gay?

Do I Sound Gay? is a 2014 American documentary film by David Thorpe that explores the existence and accuracy of stereotypes about the speech patterns of gay men, and the ways in which one's degree of conformity to the stereotype can contribute to internalized homophobia. Other figures participating in the film include Dan Savage, George Takei, David Sedaris, Tim Gunn, and Margaret Cho, as well as University of Toronto linguist Ron Smyth.

The film was funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign in the spring of 2014.


Synopsis

David Thorpe becomes concerned that his gay-sounding voice is limiting his opportunities in life. He visits two speech therapists to evaluate his condition and help him gain control of his speaking voice. Eventually he realizes that he intentionally changed his voice at about age 17 when he came out and wanted others to know he was gay.


Participants

  • David Thorpe
  • Dan Savage
  • George Takei
  • David Sedaris
  • Margaret Cho
  • Tim Gunn
  • Don Lemon
  • Jeff Hiller
  • Michael Airington
  • Ron Smyth
  • Robert Corff
  • Miguel Gutierrez
  • Richard Barrios

Production

Director David Thorpe had always been self-conscious about his voice. When Thorpe did not have a lot of confidence, he described his voice as "I felt bad about being effeminate and how my voice was the leading edge of my effeminacy". Production of Do I Sound Gay? was crowdfunded through a Kickstarter campaign launched by Thorpe on April 30, 2014. The campaign would go on to raise $120,573 out of $115,000 goal with 1,968 backers.


Release

Box office

Do I Sound Gay? opened theatrically in one venue on July 10, 2015, and earned $10,461 in its first weekend. At the end of its run, six weeks later on August 20, the film had expanded to 18 theaters and grossed $108,620 domestically.

Critical reception

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 81% based on 47 reviews, with an average rating of 6.54/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Do I Sound Gay? proves to be a light, affable, entertaining look at a largely unexplored issue". Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 65 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".

Leslie Felperin writing for The Guardian said that, "the point is inclusiveness, not conclusiveness, and that makes this open, honest and endearingly slapdash work especially interesting". Writing for Variety, Andrew Barker wrote that, "The film does lose its way at times, especially during its long look at the evolution of cinematic gay stereotypes — still a worthwhile subject of study, though one that’s been explored more thoroughly elsewhere — and the ending is a little pat". Sara Stewart of New York Post wrote, "Thorpe does elicit entertaining, thoughtful and sometimes deeply sad insights".

Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Thorpe’s topic might have been better served in a broader-based documentary about LGBT stereotypes than as the basis for an entire film". Danielle Davenport of the One Room With A View said that, "On the whole, Do I Sound Gay? is didactic and empowering, but not overly rigorous; its encouraging premise is not entirely satisfied". Clayton Dillard of Slant Magazine called Do I Sound Gay? "a film that only superficially engages its topic, preferring communal confirmation over more rigorous, troubled grapplings".

Accolades

The film was first runner-up for the People's Choice Award for Best Documentary at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Do I Sound Gay? won Best Documentary Feature at the 2015 KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.