The Way He Looks (2014)

It’s been like a MONTH and I’m so freaking sorry. The only reason I haven’t reviewed any of the great movies I’ve seen this month is because I just didn’t feel like writing one of these reviews. Even though I’m crazy bored. *sigh* I’m a terrible person. But anyways!

I’m gonna try to do a few this week. I won’t make any promises since I’m actually starting A JOB ON MONDAY! FINALLY! (Well it’s a paid internship but still, it is something besides sleeping and eating and leaving the house only to go to yoga twice a week) So I’m going to try and catch up for all the past 4 weeks I’ve missed.

https://i2.wp.com/www.indiewire.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/the-way-he-looks.jpg
The Way He Looks/Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (2014)
 Dir. Daniel Ribeiro
 Writ. Daniel Ribeiro
 Stars: Ghilherme Lobo, Fabio Audi, Tess Amorim
 Not Rated (I'd give it a PG-13 at the most though)
 96 mins.
 Drama, Romance
 IMDB 8.0

To start with, honestly, I thought I had already reviewed this movie. Because this is one of my favorite queer films ever. It’s the cutest thing ever. I’m not kidding, I’m a sucker for sweet ‘first love’ stories of all sorts, but this one is just extra adorable even though some of these kids are mean little shits. Ah teenagers. They can be such little assholes.

Before I get ahead of myself, The Way He Looks is a Brazilian film that was originally a short film by the same director that he decided to make full length after the success of the short film. It follows the story of a young boy, Leo, who is blind. He has a best friend, Giovanna, but doesn’t seem to get along with the other kids at school very well. At the onset of the movie, he is thinking about trying to go on an exchange program to gain some independence. Being blind from birth, he has reached the age where he is treated with more babying than the other kids his age and he longs for independence. The main part of the story, however, involves the new boy at school, Gabriel, who becomes friends with Leo and Giovanna, and Leo, who Giovanna teased about having never kissed a girl, starts to develop a crush on his new friend. Between wanting independence, the other kids being mean to him at school, and having his first crush on a boy, Leo’s life throughout the film changes rapidly the way that teenagers his age often do.

What makes this movie so interesting is that I’ve never seen a movie quite like it. I’ll admit, watching a movie that’s in Portuguese is really weird to me, because as someone who halfway speaks Spanish, I keep getting distracted by picking out words that are the same or similar in Spanish and not actually reading the subtitles, so I have to go back a few times every time I watch it. However, once I get past that, I love this movie. While I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of films with blind protagonists to start with, to see the way a teenager who is blind struggles not with his blindness but with the way the other kids are starting to get some independence he isn’t is something very fascinating. I think this movie handles his emotional struggles well on that front. Also, the kids are, sadly, spot on. There are some really cruel children around his age and the way that he never lets the mean kids get him down too badly is one that really makes his character stand out.

I’m not usually a fan of ‘coming of age’ stories (I know they’re crazy popular with everybody else, but USUALLY it’s the same boring elements of over-dramatizing high school) but this one is really well done. I love how you can see the natural progression of Leo realizing he likes Gabriel and vice versa. There’s this really great element of exploring Giovanna’s jealousy, and I love how they show Leo being tired of being the kid who hasn’t had a girlfriend or kissed anybody, but without making it over the top and cheesy. It’s just really heartwarming and sweet to see such an adorable ‘first love’ story that’s kept simple and honest, rather than made super dramatic and blown out of proportion. There’s just something so sweet and innocent and it’s such a beautiful story.

My Rating: 9/10

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About J. Chelsea Williford

Student at Middle Georgia State University, writer, pop culture lover.
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