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Based on actual events. When his father's MS gets worse, a teenager enlists in the army to help support his family financially, but must keep his sexuality a secret during an era of "Don't Ask, Don't tell."
In 2002, after his father’s MS flare-up leaves his family in dire financial straits, a teenager enlists in the National Guard. As he is sent to basic training, he struggles to keep up with his fellow soldiers and suppress his sexuality as he slowly comes to terms with being gay during the era of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
A high school student enlists in the Army in order to help financially with his dad’s increasingly deteriorating health. Once enlisted, he struggles to complete basic training and feels like he has to hide his homosexuality from a bigoted institution.
Private Romeo, The Sergeant, Brokeback Mountain, Love, Simon
Locations include: house, high school with choir room and gymnasium, darkened chamber, hospital, Army recruitment office, Starbucks, barbershop, airport, school bus, firing range, fitness field, post exchange, barracks, National Guard armory, chow hall, and cemetery.
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In 2002, AVERY BLAKE (17) panics in a gas chamber while his drill sergeant yells at him. Two months earlier, Avery, a gifted choir singer, attends the school dance with his best friend MADDISON LLOYD (16). Maddison and Avery notice JAMIE CAVAZOS (16) is there with a female student instead of his boyfriend. Maddison explains that the student government wouldn’t sell Jamie a ticket if he went with another boy.
When the dance ends, Avery returns home to see his father, JAMES BLAKE (53), who has multiple sclerosis, wheeled out by paramedics. At the hospital, Avery’s mother, BECKY (42), has trouble paying for James’s co-pay. The doctor tells the family James needs to be admitted to a UC Davis treatment program if they can afford it.
Avery offers to get a job. Becky, who has seen army recruitment commercials, takes Avery to meet STAFF SERGEANT RICHARDS (51). Richards offers Avery a 17,000-dollar bonus after his training. Avery is reluctant to join the military. He tries to get a job at Starbucks but is turned down. Becky pressures Avery, and eventually, he agrees to join the army.
During his first week of basic training, Avery has his hair cut and is forced to bathe...
“Private” follows the teenage Avery, who enlists in the National Guard after his father’s medical expenses prompt him to seek another way to help pay for his education. As he goes through training, he struggles to face the realization that he is gay, which he is forbidden from expressing openly within the military. “Private” engages with complex issues of sexuality, sacrifice, and military bureaucracy, and creates a realistic teenage protagonist who goes through a moving journey to express himself openly. The strengths lie in the conflict and dialogue, as well as the dimensionality of Avery’s character and the simmering sexual tension he experiences. The main areas for improvement, though, are the structure and pacing, as the time jumps or movements between military training and high school can lead the narrative to feel slightly unbalanced between its various plot threads. In addition, some of the supporting characters and their relationships to Avery could be granted even further detail in terms of their psychological complexities, as currently certain supporting roles or subplots are slightly undercooked. Overall, “Private” has great potential as a coming-of-age story that speaks to a unique experience of soldier trainees and the intense discrimination gay recruits could face....
“Private” is a coming-of-age dramedy with a cohesive tone that follows a closeted military recruit’s journey toward self-acceptance while he attempts to hide his romantic feelings from a fellow private. The premise establishes a defined arc for the protagonist, and within scenes, the main character and his relationships evolve believably. Characters’ interactions realistically highlight these dynamics. Also, subplots affect the progression of the main arc, which makes the plot feel like a coherent whole. However, a few suspenseful moments could be drawn out further. Some of the conflict may benefit from having additional resolution, though the problems the protagonist faces are developed realistically over the course of events....
“Private” is a drama about a young gay man who enlists in the Army in order to help pay for his dad’s MS treatment. The premise sets the stage for interesting characters and situations. The narrative structure allows for a complete story to be told, but the main dramatic question seems to shift and get a bit lost in the final act. The main character has a compelling flaw/vulnerability that truly provides for effective internal conflict. He also has a clear arc, although that arc could be a bit better executed in terms of the cause. The premise does offer something original, though, and future revisions could further strengthen an already fairly well-done narrative....