It's In The Water

It's in the Water (1997) is an independent film directed and written by Kelli Herd. The movie deals with AIDS and homosexuality and related prejudices. As the film opens, Alex (Keri Jo Chapman) is preparing for her Junior League project, which involves volunteering at an AIDS hospice called Hope House. The hospice recently opened in the small town of Azalea Springs, Texas. People in the town aren't generally in favor of having the hospice in town due to misconceptions and prejudices.

Alex and her friends from Junior League tour the hospice. Her friend Spencer's (John Hallum) partner is a resident of Hope House. She runs into her high school friend Grace (Teresa Garrett), who works as a nurse at the hospice. The title of the movie refers to an incident where Spencer attends a town celebration and gets drunk. He tells a woman that drinking local water caused his homosexuality. A local woman named Sloan (Nancy Chartier) overhears and spreads the story, which ends up in the town's newspaper. The story spreads and panic ensues throughout the town.

The publisher's son, Mark (Derrick Sanders) is a closet homosexual who can do little to settle the stir resulting from the story. The leader of an anti-gay group leads a movement to close Hope House. Alex becomes friends with Grace again, who admits to being a lesbian now. Her husband discovered this and is now serving time for assaulting her. As a side plot, Mark meets a painter named Tomas (Timothy Vahle) at an ex-gay meeting. Alex becomes curious about the lesbian lifestyle and explores the subject further by renting various lesbian-themed movies. Mark hires Tomas to paint his dining room. These two events set the stage for the development of two new relationships.

The negative press surrounding Hope House causes the Junior League to change plans to volunteer there. Alex then goes to work for the hospice. Her husband, however, objects to her making such a move. The film then follows the developing relationships that were hinted at earlier. Alex drifts apart from her husband and Mark comes out to his father. Mark then demands that his father drop the stories about the town's water supply after testing shows nothing out of the ordinary about it. The rest of the movie wraps up subplots and highlights the prejudice Alex faces when she comes out as a lesbian. The film wraps up with the funeral for Spencer's lover, who dies from AIDS-related complications. The event also serves as a point of resolution for the film's main characters.

| 1997 | 1 hr 40 min | 6.2/10
Kelli Herd
It's In The Water

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