Late Bloomers

Director: Julia Dyer, Gretchen Dyer
Screenwriters: Gretchen Dyer, Julia Dyer

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


The setting is suburban America, and the Eleanor B. Roosevelt High School is much like any other. Students pass notes and get in trouble for wearing Charles Manson T-shirts. The food at the Valentine‘s Day dance is all heart shaped. The story begins when Carly Lumpkin, the school secretary, suspects Dinah Groshardt, the geometry teacher, of having an affair with her husband, Rom. Carly confronts Dinah, who quickly disproves her theory, and the two become friends. Through a series of one-on-one basketball games, the two get physically and emotionally closer, and one heated game ends in a kiss. Although the women are overwhelmed with guilt and confusion, friendship soon turns to love. But complications soon arise at school as teachers whisper in the faculty lounge, students leave crude drawings on Dinah’s blackboard, and a special PTA meeting is called to address worried parents‘ concerns. Meanwhile, Carly must confront her husband and two children about her feelings and deal with their confusion and resentment. Clearly the world in which they live is ill-equipped to deal with their lesbian love.

Director Julia Dyer and screenwriter Gretchen Dyer have expertly crafted a simple story about recognizing love in one of its many incarnations. Part comedy, part family drama, and all love story, Late Bloomers is about standing up for what truly makes you happy, even though the world may seem to turn against you. Connie Nelson is wonderful as the bright, but lonely, Dinah Groshardt, and Dee Hennigan is particularly convincing as the overweight and unglamorous housewife, Carly Lumpkin. Deftly captured by cinematographer Bill Schwarz, they seem to coax from each other their best qualities. The beauty of Late Bloomers is that this love story takes place in the conservative environment of suburban America. There is nothing particularly chic, sophisticated, or especially liberal that separates Dinah and Carly from their community. For better or for worse, they realize they belong together.

— Christian Gaines

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]