Lately it feels like every stride the LGBTQIA+ community has made forward comes with three steps backwards, and Better Nate Than Ever has arrived just in time.
With laws being pushed through in effort to remove gay rights, it seems now more than ever we need more movies being created around acceptance. Allowing people to be who they are meant to be and free from judgment of what “normal” is.
That is why Better Nate Than Ever, releasing April 1st on Disney+, is a huge leap forward. And no one really understands that more than the creator of the hit book and director Tim Federle.
Better Nate Than Ever Is About Acceptance
Recently Federle and the cast met with the press to discuss the upcoming movie. When discussing the movie, he recapped that Nate is the kind of kid that in Hollywood stories would play the “side character, the joke, or he wouldn’t even appear on camera.”
But instead, Better Nate Than Ever tells the story of a 13 year old Nate Foster (Rueby Wood) who has big dreams of being on Broadway, the only problem is no one will cast him. But thanks to his best friend Libby (Aria Brooks), they hatch a plan to go on their biggest adventure yet that might just end with Nate making his dreams come true. Along their journey they run into his estranged aunt played by Lisa Kudrow. Joshua Bassett plays his older brother who appears to be the golden child.
Now while this movie focuses on a theater kid’s dream for his big break, Better Nate Than Ever also touches on LGBTQIA+ themes. Including the main character addressing and discovering his sexuality. Which with the recent connection between Disney and the Florida “Don’t Say Gay” bill, seems to be rather interesting timing. Federle has been extremely open with how he feels regarding Disney’s role in all of this and even stated in a Variety interview, “Ultimately, good representation does not cancel out bad legislation.”
It’s clear that Federle wants people to understand that everyone deserves to belong, and it is a huge part of what this movie is all about. During the press conference last week he expanded on what his intention was for the movie.
“The authenticity of this movie is to bring the audience into a world where Nate may feel different from them, but actually, we all have the same dream. We want to be accepted, loved, celebrated, and lifted up. And whether your dream is sort of wrapped in ‘I want to get to Broadway’ or just, you know, ‘ I want to find the right people in my life who actually see who I am and are not trying to change me.”
He continued to discuss how important it is that the movie whips by quickly, leaving audiences in a whirlwind of emotions. Allowing for less time to analyze and more time to just feel. Which makes sense when you think of it because some of the best movies that have changed our lives did so by making us feel.
He also stated, “one thing I keep hearing is like, ‘It’s funny. It’s sweet. It’s a joy. And then I cried at the end. Why was I crying at the end?’ And I think my answer to that is because like, well, that’s real life. Real life is like, it goes up, it goes down, it goes up, it goes down, and you better find those people who ride that roller coaster with you.”
Sometimes the hardest thing we face is the fear we are alone, or in Federle’s words we have no one to ride the roller coaster with. And that is why now more than ever this movie needs to be available. Think of all the people, especially young adults who could benefit from knowing that no matter what there are people out there who understand and are willing to ride the ups and downs.
That is why probably the best line out of the interview was when he stated, “I’ve learned over the years is if you get enough outcasts together, you’re no longer an outcast; you’re actually a club.”
Better Nate Than Ever is going to inspire so many to create their own clubs, to follow their dreams, and to not be afraid to discover who they really are. While also many are hoping that this is the start to a newer, brighter chapter of the Disney projects we see. More themes about topics like this and more LGBTQIA+ representation is desperately needed in the world of film and TV. And Better Nate Than Ever is a great start.
Don’t forget to check out Better Nate Than Ever April 1 on Disney+.