Tell No One (2012)
Everything in Mattia’s world seems to be telling him to not come out. But when it comes to moving forward with his boyfriend or not disappointing his family, which will he choose?
Synopsis: Mattia is about to move to Spain to live with his boyfriend, Eduard. When his family has a dinner for him to say goodbye, Eduard surprises Mattia saying he’s coming to see him and meet his parents. The problem is that, contrary to Eduard’s belief, Mattia isn’t out to his family.
Many coming out films, especially more recent ones, have a slight problem. Often, we see a protagonist who is afraid to come out to someone – generally parents. But in some films, we never seem to know why they are anxious. The parents are loving and supportive of everything the child does, and we don’t have a good explanation why the son or daughter doesn’t see that. Not the case in Tell No One.
I like the fact that there is a background to why Mattia doesn’t want to come out to his parents. I felt like his entire experience and the whole movie was telling him to not tell them. (I suppose the title of the film was speaking to Mattia). From his dad yelling faggot at a passerby to his mom talking about the poor people at the Gay Pride parade, there was plenty to tell Mattia they wouldn’t react well.
Even his sister had talked about how perfect Mattia is in his parents’ eyes. He always did well in school, did the right things… He didn’t want to change how they thought of him.
In older coming of age films, the environment in which LGBT people lived was enough to explain why they didn’t want to come out or why it was scary. There are still films in other countries where the atmosphere is of intolerance (or worse), and in those cases the protagonist’s fear of coming out is understood. In 2012 Italy it is still more difficult to be out than in other European countries; however, the film does a very good job of building up Mattia’s apprehension.
Coming out for the first time in a situation where you think you’re afraid of rejection can be almost tortuous. The scenes where Mattia was attempting to come out convey those emotions very well. The film takes time to focus on Mattia’s feelings in the moment and even seems to hasten the pace that things around him are happening, all the while imparting the almost slow motion of Mattia’s experience.
I love metaphors in movies, and an obvious one here is Mattia being called Peter Pan at a drag show when he seems to have forgotten his name. Of course, Peter Pan is the boy who never grew up and represented youth and escapism. This is a direct tie to Mattia’s storyline as he doesn’t want to grow up. He wants to always be what he was to his parents, and although circumstances seem to tell him to stay closeted each occurrence is an excuse. The drag queen later says that she sees Mattia perhaps more as a Tinkerbell which carries further metaphor for him.
It’s also nice to have some surprises in a film, and this story has one. It’s not a huge, earth-shattering thing, but it’s a welcome moment. I also enjoyed the ending all the way through the credits which was a nice touch.
The only constructive things that I would say are that the movie jumped around a bit. I’m not sure if it was because I don’t speak Italian (a shame) that I was confused a few times as to what/when I was watching. Generally, after the time jump, I understood what had happened. Also, the subtitles were delayed to the point where the next person was talking and it just started to show what the original speaker was saying.
Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable movie with a likable main character, good character and story development, and well filmed. Remember if you want to tell someone something, don’t wait 25 years.