Set amidst the disparate worlds of the London pop music scene and the bare knuckles boxing clubs of working-class Blackpool, the 1998 gay classic Like It Is is a sexy, and at times, caustically funny tale of one youth’s coming out and his first, tumultuous gay love affair.
Craig (real-life boxing champ Steve Bell) is a 21-year-old Blackpooler who makes his living by fighting in illegal bare-knuckle fights. But the tough youth is also a closeted gay. By chance, he meets Matt (Ian Rose), a cocky London music producer who takes Craig under his wing.
The affair that ensues brings wide-eyed Steve down to the swinging gay Soho scene and into the duplicitous clutches of Matt’s friends, which include Paula (Dani Behr), Matt’s flatmate and an up-and-coming singer threatened by the arrival of the youth; and Kelvin (Roger Daltrey… yep, that Roger Daltrey), Matt’s gay and decidedly wolfish boss.
Will Craig find happiness in Britain’s gay Mecca or be forced back to his sordid former lifestyle? Some of the film’s best moments are when it shows the tensions of being gay in a tough, macho environment; the biting indictment of shallow gay men; and the hilarious camp performance by Daltrey (who sinks his toothy grin into his role with lecherous gusto).