Inside Out 2024: Our Review of ‘Dalton’s Dream’

Posted in Festival Coverage by - May 24, 2024
Inside Out 2024: Our Review of ‘Dalton’s Dream’

Dalton Harris, a prodigal son, returns to Jamaica after proving his talent on the UK version of The X Factor. Part of this return involves him going on local talk shows where the discussions are about a sensitive topic. The hosts are classy about it, but they still want him to talk about his mother and his alleged sexuality. At the time, he hasn’t disclosed his sexuality, but the allegations are enough to scare him from major appearances. Dalton’s Dream is about a struggle that many viewers see on film, as he fights back on his terms.

This film hits every beat of documentaries about musicians, as it shows the raw footage of Harris’ public and private life. Some may struggle to watch someone who, for the most part, isn’t necessarily honest about himself for nuanced reasons. Dalton’s Dream tries and mostly succeeds in depicting how a public figure approaches private questions, that it’s only his business. The documentary shows him addressing his sexuality through his music to a surprisingly receptive crowd in a stereotypically homophobic Jamaica. It goes back and forth to shots of the crowd clapping their hands and him singing, showing subtitles and everything.

There’s a lot of potential in Dalton’s Dream especially as it lucks out on a subject with that backstory. There’s enough material here but there are some moments that feel like it doesn’t know how to cobble things together. The backstage scenes aren’t particularly interesting because why are viewers watching people fight about outfits and other seemingly banal things? There are other moments that feel awkward but, upon further thought, make Harris relatable to an obviously queer viewership. Watching him perform acts of self sabotage isn’t always fun, but we go through that, and pick ourselves back up.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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