In our new “Get INTO” series, we rummage through Netflix each week to find the very best movies that LGBTQ cinema has to offer. However you identify, these tales of love, sex and the everyday experience of queer life all deserve a special place in your Netflix queue. Also, some of these films are super hot, so whether you’re alone or with a special ‘friend,’ rev up everyone’s favorite streaming service and get ready to chill with some of the best queer movies on Netflix.
What is Dream Boat? Depending on your own personal experience, embarking on a gay cruise can feel like a liberating act of celebration or a suffocating reminder that you don’t match up to the physical standards of the gay community at large.
Through this lens, documentary filmmaker Tristan Ferland Milewski dives into the hedonistic world of gay party cruises, pushing through all of the pecs and groins on display to explore intimate issues such as loneliness, depression and an often damaging obsession with physical beauty.
Who’s in it? Among the 3000 travelers who signed up for the cruise, Milewski focuses on five international subjects who each represent a different physical type in the world of gay men.
First up is Marek, a personal trainer from Poland who might be conventionally beautiful, but lacks the confidence to find his soulmate. Next up is Dipankar, an Indian man who now lives in Dubai where he could be imprisoned simply because he’s gay. Philippe is an older French man who has been confined to a wheelchair for the past 20 years, but that doesn’t stop him from joining his partner on the dancefloor. Ramzi moved from Palestine to Belgium so that he could avoid persecution and now lives there with his partner who is recovering from cancer. Finally, there’s Martin, a 42-year-old Austrian man who is HIV positive.
What does Rotten Tomatoes say? “Once a year the DREAM BOAT sets sail for a cruise only for gay men. Far from their families and political restrictions, we follow five men from five countries on the quest for their dreams. The cruise promises seven days of sunshine, love, and freedom–but on board are also their personal stories, their doubts and uncertainties…”
What do we say? In between encounters with each of the five subjects, the camera also gazes longingly at the teeming Adonises that populate the cruise, slowly tracking over every thrusting bulge and glistening pectoral. Depending on your point of view, the events depicted here are either the stuff that dreams are made of or a sad indictment of the gay community’s often superficial outlook on love.
So it’s pretty shallow, right? The camp displays of flesh might seem shallow on the surface, but Dream Boat is quick to cruise out of those shallows into far deeper waters. Even with all of the ass on display, Milewski is actually more concerned with the nightmares that many of the cruisers keep hidden inside. Insecurities about aging and dying alone come to the fore in both one-on-one encounters with each subject and also during eerie interludes where a formation of men gather on deck and express their fears via voice over.
So it’s a depressing watch? Near the beginning of Dream Boat, one traveller declares that “The buffet is open,” and while he’s not talking about the food that’s available, there’s still plenty to feast on in Milewski’s feature debut. The ongoing juxtaposition between sheer hedonism and the personal struggles of each subject could be jarring, but in reality, it captures the conflict that many face within the gay community on a regular basis. Come for the visual bounty of flesh that’s on display and stay for the thoughtful ruminations on beauty and what it means to be an outcast within a community of outcasts.
Dream Boat is available to stream on Netflix now.