It is rare – rare in the extreme – that a documentary is capable of delivering a cliffhanger and dramatic tension of the sort you might find in a thriller or other film in the drama genre. But that, out of the blue, is precisely what Things We Dare Not Do does.
(A)fter three-quarters of a film’s worth of documenting the difficulties of 16-year-old and queer/trans Ñoño, and their struggle to live a life that is authentic and true to themselves, in the heart of a homophobic, transphobic rural Mexican community, it is still a shock when Ñoño finally comes out. At the family evening meal. Asking permission of the father, the head of the family, in much the same way as, one imagines, young men once petitioned for the right to marry a young daughter.
(…) It’s a pivotal moment, drawn out in ways that an old master at this game, such as Hitchcock or Stephen King, would recognise and applaud. And even if this is not a horror movie, from what has gone before, the serious consequences of this choice, this announcement have already been made very clear.
For a documentary, Things We Dare Not Do is exceedingly engaging, in a way that many documentaries aren’t.
Jane Fae, Eye for Film