Though they are still underrepresented, it seems like the LGBTQ community is being seen more in film. Queer people are being used less in token or background roles and more as the main characters. Cicada is a great example. The movie follows Ben (Matthew Fifer) a bisexual man who is trying to navigate life while dealing with past traumas.
Fifer stars in, wrote, and directed Cicada. At times, it is hard not to wonder if he may have taken on too much. The camera work is erratic with shaky cam being used a little too much. This is meant to add emotion, but it ends up being a distraction.
The story tends to lose its way at times. The characters, Ben especially, seem distant. This may be intentional since one of the key aspects of Ben’s character is his emotional detachment from the world. It comes off as underdeveloped characters, however.
Conversely, the plot can be very engaging. Cicada tackles tough subjects. There is an authenticity to the movie that helps it overcome some of its flaws. These are not characters in a film, they are real people whose lives the audience are watching. Though it can be difficult to get close to those in the film, the issues they are dealing with are immersive.
Sheldon D. Brown (who also shares a story credit) stands out as Sam, Ben’s love interest. The two bond together over all of the hardships they have faced in their lives. Sam is an introspective character who never asks the audience to feel sorry for him. Instead, there is a genuine interest and concern for his life.
The pace of Cicada also plays into the lives of its characters. Initially, it moves at a rapid fire pace that mimics Ben’s carefree attitude and decision making. As his life becomes more stable, the pace also slows downs (some may think too much so). This is a clever way of getting the audience more emotionally involved in the story.
Emotional love stories tend to be more about two people finding each other. Often, they are also about someone learning about themselves. Cicada is one such movie. There is a lot going on here and things may seem undercooked at times. Ultimately, it is an endearing film that is about self discovery.
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