What's in your genes?

Over the last several decades, science has gained fantastic ground on the argument that homosexuality and bisexuality are found in most species on the planet. The nature of sexuality has been examined and it has been proven time and time again that sexual orientation is rarely back and white, but a fluid gray with hardly any limit at all as to the direction that nature can take. Zerophilia, a recent film from TLA Releasing, examines these new definitions of sex and gender and is at once hilarious, thought-provoking, and poignant.

Zerophilia stars Taylor Handley, the adorable star of the CW’s recently cancelled Hidden Palms, although most of us remember him as the character you-loved-to-hate Oliver Trask from the O.C. In Zerophilia he plays affable boy-next-door Luke, who while camping one night in the woods, loses his virginity with a mysterious English woman in a rickety camper. Much to his dismay, afterwards he finds that he can suddenly morph from male to female – but only when he’s feeling frisky, if you know what I mean. Enter Michelle, played by newcomer Rebecca Mozo. Michelle is the girl of Luke’s dreams, but he can’t get around her without gaining or losing appendages left and right. There’s only one person who can help – a horny doctor from Brazil who may be hiding some secrets herself.

What begins as a run of the mill teen sex comedy quickly is eclipsed by Handley’s performance as the at once lovable Luke. He’s natural and sweet, and his smile illuminates the screen. His supporting players are fantastic, including Dustin Seavey and Alison Folland as his best friends, who are at first fascinated by Luke’s amazing transformation, then completely supportive of the choice he must ultimately make.

Besides the solid performances, what makes the concept work is director Martin Curland’s deft and sensitive handling of the subject, refusing to leave Zerophilia in the company of such gender bending teen classics as Just One of the Guys and She’s the Man. Zerophila asks a lot of questions on a lot of different levels, and becomes an exploration of issues such as masculinity and femininity, bisexuality and even transgenderism. But the film never becomes preachy or condescending, instead showing a very believable struggle in somewhat unbelievable circumstances. You never stop listening and you won’t be able to stop thinking after the movie, which is a hard line to walk.

Zerophilia is available now for rental and purchase at OutLoud! Books and Gifts located at 1703 Church Street, and other fine retailers. You can also purchase a copy online at www.zerophiliamovie.com.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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