Film Review: Luke Gilford invites you to experience a vibrant queer rodeo in ‘National Anthem’

Film Review: Luke Gilford invites you to experience a vibrant queer rodeo in ‘National Anthem’

The film “National Anthem” directed by Luke Gilford takes viewers on a journey into the world of queer cowboy culture, challenging the traditional stereotypes of hypermasculinity associated with horses. The story follows Dylan, a young construction worker struggling to navigate his sexuality in a conservative environment. When he stumbles upon a ranch community of queer rodeo performers, Dylan is introduced to a world where fluidity and acceptance reign supreme.

As Dylan explores his own identity within this oasis of freedom, he finds himself drawn to the enigmatic Sky, sparking a complicated romance that forces him to question where he truly belongs. The film beautifully captures the sense of wonder and surrealism in its cinematography, enhancing Dylan’s journey of self-discovery and love.

Despite the newfound acceptance he finds in this community, Dylan must confront the strain it puts on his relationships with his family and the conflicting desires of belonging. The unresolved storyline of his absent father adds depth to Dylan’s character, reflecting the complexities of his journey towards self-acceptance.

Luke Gilford’s personal connection to the queer rodeo scene shines through in “National Anthem,” showcasing a subculture rarely explored in mainstream media. Through his photography and film, Gilford highlights the resilience and pride of LGBTQ+ individuals reclaiming patriotism in a space where they are often marginalized.

In the end, “National Anthem” is a poignant and visually captivating exploration of love, identity, and belonging. It invites viewers to reconsider what it means to find community and autonomy in a world that often seeks to confine individuals to narrow labels and expectations. As the film resonates with themes of self-discovery and acceptance, it challenges audiences to embrace the complexities of human experience with compassion and empathy.

“National Anthem,” a bold and thought-provoking piece of cinema, is a must-see for those seeking a fresh perspective on love, community, and the power of authenticity.