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A sweet love story set in a Brazilian suburb.
Review (with Spoilers)
It has been a little over a year since seeing Blue is the Warmest Color and strangely I find myself spending another Saturday in November watching a foreign LGBT indie film. However, rather than the focus be on two women on the cusp of adulthood, The Way He Looks focuses on two young men in the prime of their teens. Also, to add some flavor to it, one of the gentlemen are blind and they are Brazilian. Leading to the question: Is this film worth seeing?
Characters & Story
Somewhere in Brazil lives a young man named Leonardo (Ghilgerme Lobo) who, like best friend Giovana (Tess Amorim), just wants adventure and romance to come to their life. However, being that Giovana is sort of socially awkward, and constantly assisting Leo, she doesn’t seem to really meet anyone. As for Leo, well one day a new kid named Gabriel (Fabio Audi) comes to Leo and Giovana’s school and with his arrival things are set in motion. Thus beginning a journey of discovery, romance, and the slightest bit of drama.
When it comes to the three leads, it is a tad surprising that for all of them this is their first major movie. For while there isn’t necessarily Oscar-worthy performances here, there is enough depth and emotion provided for you to be into what’s happening. Also, when it comes to romance, I like the fact that things didn’t get sexual and the discovery of being homosexual, and exhibiting that with a partner, wasn’t sensationalized. For not only are these young actors teens, but unfortunately, there is a trend in a lot of teen films, LGBT or otherwise, which seem to always make the height of the relationship their first time and it skips over making the first kiss, or the first time they hold hands, important.
Also, as much as I talk about the need for diversity, I must admit I liked the fact that alongside Leo being blind and a person of color, he was masculine. If just because sometimes it seems, as the world works on tolerance and acceptance of those who identify as LGBT, in media there is a stronger focus on those who have flamboyant personalities. Making it where when it comes to the guys who are like Leo, or even Gabriel, you rarely see what would be considered two masculine guys be together. And this isn’t said to attack feminine men or those who don’t identify with gender binaries, but I just think for those who question their sexuality, there is just as much a need to show men who don’t fit the traditional standard, as much as the ones who do. If that makes sense.
With the film not having any sensationalized moments, or any serious drama, outside of Giovana feeling like she is being replaced in Leo’s life, and Leo dealing with the discovery he has feelings for Gabriel, the film can feel a bit boring at times. But I contribute the film feeling boring because it is so rare that you get a LGBT film without a huge amount of drama or any film which deals with falling in love. So while I could look at the actors’ inexperience, or say it is because of the script, I more so think what keeps this film from being entertaining is because I am so used to the characters being overdramatic that it makes sweet films like these seem dull in comparison.
Overall: TV Viewing
What keeps me from saying this is Worth Seeing is because I just didn’t find it worth the hassle of finding the theater it was in. Also, unlike Yelling to the Sky, which also had a very limited release, I don’t feel left with any reason to see this film again. For with the actors being good, but not exemplary; the story aiming for authenticity, over dramatics; and the characters being sweet, but not necessarily interesting; I just don’t feel that this should even be in the lower echelon of the “Worth Seeing” label. Hence the TV Viewing label for, outside of the representation the film gives for those who are LGBT, Blind and are non-White, there isn’t that strong of a selling point.
Things to Note
Also, I felt a sub-plot dealing with Leo and Giovana trying to travel to America should have been seen through to the end instead of dropped.