So, last night I rewatched The Way He Looks (Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho), and of the million and one reasons why everyone should watch this movie, here are a few:
This is Gabriel (left) and Leo (right)
It’s on netflix, which most of you probably have, so it’s accessible
How many queer stories are there that feature a protagonist with a disability? Not many, but this one does! Leo is blind, he’s the main character, and I feel they handled his disability well (this is coming from a non-disabled person, though, so feel free to disagree)
It’s a pretty stereotypical indie teen romance movie, but the queer aspect already makes it 100x more interesting
a realistic parent-child relationship, with bonus awesome grandma
there’s no “omg, am I gay???” freak out. In fact, both characters are pretty much 100% ok with being into each other, and they’re main worry is “i don’t know if they like me back, but i know i want to stay friends with them at least, what do i do??” with a tiny sprinkling of jealousy, cause, well, stereotypical teen romance
a very beautiful and loving girl-boy friendship with lots of casual, platonic intimacy
there’s nothing super angsty?? like, no death or super homophobic parents/classmates or having to hide that they’re queer. it’s honestly such a feel-good movie???
what homophobia there is, it comes as teasing and there are never any hints of anything turning violent, and in fact, at one point, when the bully character is teasing Gabriel and Leo for being boyfriends, Leo shows him that they are, in fact, real-life boyfriends, and the bully’s friends start teasing him for trying to make fun of them when they’re actually boyfriends
the girl best friend isn’t narratively pushed to the side when the new boy (love interest) comes in. In fact, her (Giovana) and Leo’s friendship is shown to be just as important as Leo and Gabriel’s relationship
everything works out and you’re left with a lovely, sweet, happy ending that’s honestly just so nice to see in a young queer romance???
I really love this movie, and there’s also a short-film!! on youtube that I recommend, too!
Putting these two movies together is not coincidental. Apart of different places of filming (Brazil and The Netherlands) they have a lot things in common. Acting plot is about awaking sexual consciousness in growing up boys. They share first innocent kisses and experience overwhelming fascination towards each other. The drama turns out slightly childish and kind of cliché in a manner of further movie scenes. However, you cannot blame an ordinary teenage life which is captured here at school, summer camp and while fooling around in the lake or chilling at the swimming pool. Speaking of water, it seems to have a dual meaning and it can be perceived as a birth of something new and unusual - the beginning of uncomfortable yet tempting feeling. There’s something charming and moving in this attraction-repulsion fight that main characters are forcing with. Nevertheless, they need to face up to an inner struggle with their own identity. Only then, they’re finding a peace riding away on a (motor)bike. Together.
― The Way He Looks (2014) Leo: I’m never going to leave you! Imagine an eclipse. The Earth is in front of the sun, and the moon disappears from the sky, but it’s still there. At some point, the Earth moves and we can see the moon again. Just like us!