BFI Flare Review: Dramarama

Murder Mystery Party

It’s not so long ago that being a nerd largely meant a childhood of bullying and constant abuse. To be different at school was almost asking to become a target. The worst part is the feeling that you’re all alone. Today, that situation, to a large extent, has been turned on its head. Nerdism has thrived on the internet and seeped into every aspect of popular culture. In 2021, being ‘different’ is cool, but back in the 1990s, the setting for Dramarama, that wasn’t always the case.  

Rose (Anna Grace Barlow) is moving to New York to realise her dream of becoming a star of the stage. To celebrate her grand finale, she’s hosting a literary murder mystery party and sleepover for her fellow drama nerds. Gene (Nick Pugliese) is finally ready to come out but doesn’t know how his Christian friends will respond. As the tightknit group spend their last night together, secrets are shared and old recriminations bubble to the surface.

Dramarama is a sweet and warm-hearted celebration of young friendship and youthful uncomfortableness. Jonathan Wysocki’s film is utterly charming. This is largely down to a fine cast, clever pacing and writing that feels both authentic and fresh. It does take a few minutes to all click but stick with it and your patience will be rewarded. Dramarama is a beautifully handled feature debut which sparkles with life and good humour.

Dramarama screens at BFI Flare.

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