In Gwen Wynne's directorial debut feature film "Wild About Harry" (USA 2009, 95 minutes), inspired by an actual occurrence in picturesque Cape Cod in 1973, Harry Goodheart (Tate Donovan) and his daughters, Madeline (Danielle Savre) and Daisy (Skye McCole Bartusiak), are coping with his wife and their mother's recent death, and Goodheart's got a business partner, Theodore Gibbs (Adam Pascal), who appears to be just wild about Harry.
Madeline, who is 16, wants to fit in with her new peers at school. She and Daisy and some of their school friends (Josh Peck and Corey Sevier) go out, ostensibly to the movies, but wind up at the historic gay bar Atlantic House, in Provincetown. Madeline happens to see her father and Gibbs dancing together, which puts an end to her fun at the disco. Upset and in awe about what she's seen, she runs from the bar, in a scene Savre executes flawlessly.
This occurrence has sent her into a tailspin, and Madeline begins to hate Theodore. Daisy, on the other hand, adores everything from Gibbs' piano playing to the meals he prepares and loves his company. Bartusiak superbly contrasts Daisy with her more conventional sister.
Harry and Theodore are trying to make a go of selling American primitive furniture on the Cape, and Donovan and Pascal play their parts to a tee, with the former's Harry ready to do anything for the girls and the latter's Theodore doing the same for Harry. Madeline can't resist telling a friend the family 'secret,' and he can't help but tell others. The community makes its disapproval evident, at a time when the girls' maternal grandparents are trying to take them away from their father.
Although events of this touching drama take place nearly four decades ago, the issues "Harry" raises are still painfully pertinent today, and it is clear that Wynne's work came directly from the heart. See this film at one of its QFest screenings at the Ritz at the Bourse, 400 Ranstead Street, on July 12 at 7:30 p.m. or 16 at 5:15 p.m. and you, too, will go wild about Harry.
QFest, Philadelphia's LGBT film festival, runs through July 19. Visit http://www.qfest.com for further information.