While watching the movie Freak, I was completely mesmerized and entranced by John Leguizamo’s performance. I could not take my eyes off the screen as I watched Leguizamo transform seamlessly from one race, gender, or age to another and essentially embody the stereotypical melting pot of America in 89 minutes. In his review of Freak entitled A One-Man Melting Pot Bubbling With Demons, Ben Brantley describes the performance as “a one-man performance that is more crowded with characters than any other production on Broadway.” I experienced a variety of emotions throughout Leguizamo’s autobiographical performance of his life, from a sperm to an actor. He was able to very quickly draw me into his world and, by the end of the movie, I felt as though I knew him personally. I was shocked at the vulgarity of some of the scenes, such as where he embodied the character of his own penis. I was saddened and angered while watching the exchanges between Leguizamo and his father, such as when his father came and visited him at the theater to tell him about his other family. I was even jealous of his lack of a filter and brutal honestly as he portrayed the many characters that appeared throughout his life. He truly made no attempts to hide his opinions or to even spare the feelings of others. The many direct parallels throughout the movie to Drown by Junot Diaz, were striking. I even found myself, while reading Drown, after watching Freak, getting confused between the two very complex story lines. The most stunning similarity was the relationship that Johnny and his father had to that of Yunior and his father. In addition, the relationship between mother and son seen through both Freak and Drown was also
stunningly similar. These relationships spurred many questions in my head and also inspired a further discussion about the gender roles for my first paper.