From Brazil comes this sweet film that looks at three angst ridden teens in high school, who are all trying to fit in. What makes it different is director, Daniel Ribeiro’s approach to not have his actors over act, or fall into a campier method of writing a la ‘Glee’ or ‘G.B.F.’. The latter really did make a splash in Gay cinema last year, but “The Way He Looks” seems to move towards the next wave of Gay filmmaking, and allow it’s young actors room for mature dialogue, while still telling a great story.
THE WAY HE LOOKS centers on its main character, Leonardo, who is blind that spends much of his free time with his friend, Giovana. Giovana walks Leonardo home each day and the two spend time by the pool. Giovana wonders who will be the first boy she kisses, while Leonardo dreams of leaving Brazil to travel abroad to escape his overprotective parents.
Typical to life in high school, and teens in general, Leonardo is not off the hook to being a target for ridicule due to his blindness. Sure there are scenes with the bullies who get off making fun of Leonardo, as well as the popular girl, who mixes her time between teen flirt and gossiper, but it’s the inner strength of Leonardo, that really shines, making him a lead character you admire.
When a new student, Gabriel, enters the school, mid-year, both Leonardo and Giovana’s comfortable routine is shaken, advancing the plot to an emotional roller coaster that is endearing, as it is engaging. THE WAY HE LOOKS will conjure up many of those angst ridden teen years that many of us felt, but is told in a fresh way for today’s cinema, without overemphasizing teen bullying, while putting ‘gay’ in the backseat in favor of a solid storyline.
THE WAY HE LOOKS plays at the 2014 OUTFEST on Monday, July 14th at 7:00 PM at DGA1.