The Falls: Testament of Love

The Falls: Testament of Love (2013)

It’s said (and a fact) that you have to break some eggs to make an omelet.  Odd that saying should come to me as I open this review, but I feel like I just watched someone start to make some breakfast…

Synopsis from IMDB: “Chris and RJ reunite five years after coming out to their families and their church as gay men, where the factors that led to their separation are revealed as they mourn the death of their mutual friend Rodney.”

At the end of the last film, The Falls, we were hopeful that RJ and Chris would find something together.  And as this film tells us, they did – for a while.  But when Chris returned home he got caught up in choosing between the life the Church promised or a life with RJ.  He chose God. Continue reading “The Falls: Testament of Love”

The Falls

The Falls (2012)

 

 

The Heavenly Father sent RJ and Chris on their mission for a reason.

Synopsis: RJ and Chris are two young Mormons who have embarked on their first mission.  As they get into routines, they begin to question things including their faith and themselves.  They also find that they have something in common – an attraction to each other.  While the Church threatens to tear them apart literally and emotionally, they each must find their own path.

I watched this film for the first time several years ago, and recently watched it to review The Falls Trilogy in sequence.  I forgot how much I liked this film, and how true to life it is for so many LGBT Mormons.  For so many people, they have been forced to choose between the truth and human nature, or everything else that their Community holds out for them as what their lives should look like. Continue reading “The Falls”

Steel

Steel (2015)

This film is certainly not your run of the mill and overplayed gay movie story line.  It deals with some serious issues.  It can be difficult enough for someone to come to terms with their own sexuality, but also dealing with an anxiety disorder makes things much harder.

Synopsis from IMDB: “Strong emotions – fear and panic, self-search and isolation, love and sex, self-denial and self-discovery – a ride on an emotional roller coaster while trying to find one’s way into life.”

I’m pretty sure this is the first and only film I’ve seen about a main character who suffers from both internalized homophobia and agoraphobia.  Daniel has a serious case of both which play out in destructive ways to his career and personal life.

Although I found the first 30 minutes of the film very odd, in hindsight I think it might be meant to be perceived that way.  At first, you don’t know what the hell is going on.  The overzealous music doesn’t help – it makes you think someone if about to be murdered.  However, we see Daniel seemingly fine – hiding his anxiety under certain conditions.  But when those conditions change we see someone else entirely. Continue reading “Steel”

I Love You Both

I Love You Both (2016)

The emergency code to get out of a bad date or situation is watermelons!

Synopsis from IMDB: “Krystal and her twin brother/roommate confront twenty-eight years of their codependency when they start dating the same guy.”

I followed this film when it was on Indiegogo as Quarter Life Crisis, and thought it had a lot of potential.  It wasn’t quite what I expected.

One of the main topics of this film seems to be co-dependence.  Krystal and Donny are twins, they live together, eat breakfast together, and do almost everything together.  They are even interested in the same guy.  I thought they would dive more into their relationship or maybe make it more humorous. Continue reading “I Love You Both”

That’s Not Us

That’s Not Us (2015)

Sometimes solving a relationship problem is just a matter of communicating with your partner.  But what if there are deeper issues that make you afraid or lose control?  Sometimes it’s not as easy as you’d think.

Synopsis: “Three twenty-something couples – gay, lesbian and straight – travel to a beach house to enjoy the last days of summer, but what was meant to be a fun, carefree retreat transforms into an intimate exploration of sex and commitment. … THAT’S NOT US is a romantic comedy that questions what it takes to sustain a healthy long-term partnership. While gender and sexuality may vary, the struggles to make love last do not.”

Researching this film, I found that it is unlike most others in that the majority of it was improvised by the actors.  They started with an outline of what was supposed to happen, and the dialogue was invented on the fly by the actors.  This leads to a very natural sounding, conversational tone to the film.  It makes it more personal and intimate which contributes to the overall feel and theme of the movie. Continue reading “That’s Not Us”

Esteros

Esteros (2016)

Being dampened is like a TV in a hotel room that you can only turn the volume up so far.

Synopsis from Netflix: “A decade after being separated, childhood friends Matías and Jerónimo reconnect as adults and find that their mutual attraction hasn’t faded.”

There are a few themes that we see in Esteros.  One is about living one’s life openly, unafraid – undampened.  In this instance, Jero has become the role model in that he is openly gay and accepted who he is.  We also consider how internalized homophobia can make people afraid to be themselves, and prevent them from being truly happy. Continue reading “Esteros”

Taekwondo

Taekwondo (2016)

Leo Tolstoy asks, “Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels?”  Taekwondo attempts to do just that through making the entire movie about one feeling.

Quick synopsis: Fernando invites his friend from Taekwondo, Germán, to his home to spend some time during vacation.  All of Fernando’s friends are there who have known each other for years and spend vacations at the house.  What will happen when the new guy shows up?

Taekwondo, an Argentinian film, is one that wants to make you feel.  It’s all about the emotions of wondering if someone likes you – if they are capable of liking you.  Imagine you are in high school and you know you are gay, have a crush on a guy, but can’t figure out if he is gay or not.  And of course, all this takes place where everyone else is straight. Continue reading “Taekwondo”

Bromance

Bromance (2016)

How well do these friends know themselves and each other, and will their friendships stand the test of learning each other’s secrets?

Quick synopsis from IMDB: “A forest by the sea. Three friends. A girl. Friendship, love. Can they overcome prejudices and go back to being friends again?”

To clarify, there are several films that have similar names.  This is not the 2015 comedy Bromance, nor is it the Thai film called My Bromance.  I also think the synopsis would better read, “A camping trip. Three friends. A girl.  Friendship and love.  Do they really know themselves and each other, and can they still be friends in the end?”  I’m not sure that the forest is the key part of their journey together.

The first night of camping reveals that there is something more between Daniel and Santi than just friendship.  Whether it’s one sided or not is part of the story of the film.  The two have an intimate conversation that evening, and it’s one that Daniel replays in his mind and literally on camera. Continue reading “Bromance”

Being 17

Being 17 (2016)

When most folks are about 17 years old they are still figuring out who they are.  Being 17 interprets this struggle like a nomad wandering through the mountains.

The two main characters are both 17 and coming of age.  Damien is figuring out who he is without his dad being there as well as figuring out his sexual orientation.  Thomas is processing through being adopted and what he plans to do with his life, as well as which gender he’s attracted to.

As these two process their lives, they fight not only themselves but each other as well.  A significant part of the film is devoted to the time they spend fighting each other verbally and physically.  It seems like this process follows their battle with some internalized homophobia that holds them back.  It’s obvious from their odd obsession/aversion as well as some random glances that these two have something between them. Continue reading “Being 17”

Loev

Loev (2015)

Sahir and Jai are looking for something in each other, but do either of them know what it is?

“What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more…” – Haddaway

Quick synopsis: “Lives are upended when a hiking trip leads a Wall Street hotshot to explore his true feelings for an old friend who’s disenchanted with his boyfriend.”

As I started watching Loev, I immediately tried to start putting the pieces together.  Who are these people, and who are they to each other?  With many films, the first few minutes give us an introduction to the characters and how they relate.  In Loev, some of this comes together easily, while most parts are harder to figure out.  I’m pretty sure this was done on purpose, and it was well done. Continue reading “Loev”

Holding the Man

m_htmHolding the Man (2015)

The cover art of this film betrays the raw and resolute nature of this film.  They appear to be dancing in golden light, but their reality is less sunny.

Tim and John meet in high school, and their romance blossoms from there.  Although not everything is always roses – they go through all kinds of relationship and individual challenges.  Eventually there is one challenge that they must face together, and will test them to the end. Continue reading “Holding the Man”

Beneath the Skin

m_btsBeneath the Skin (2015)

Two young men start out with abandonment issues, but find love with each other.  Will they be torn apart more by the bullies or their own circumstances?

Summary: Acts of abandonment causes two young men to relocate to a small island in Canada. But things begin to look better when student Joshua (Ellis) and tattooist Jay (Liles) meet. That isuntil Joshua’s new-found school bullies get involved.

There were some good parts to this film that stood out to me.  The friendly tattoo artist and his girlfriend who take in Jay (and befriend Joshua) come across as genuine and wonderful people.  It’s a shame it wasn’t more developed that they created a chosen family and how that impacted everyone.  Joshua and his brother have some scenes that are touching.  And Joshua and Jay have some chemistry that helps promote the dynamic between them. Continue reading “Beneath the Skin”