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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Bloo's Reviews | The Way He Looks

"Not every love happens at first sight."

This review may contain spoilers.

What seems like forever ago now I watched a beautiful little Brazilian short called I Don't Want to Go Back Alone. It featured a blind boy named Leo and his best friend Giovana and how their lives are changed when a new boy, Gabriel, joins their class. It was a beautiful 17 minute little short and it left me wanting more. So you can imagine how excited I was when more was exactly what I was going to get! They made a feature length version of the short, complete with the original three main cast members to boot! 

The Way He Looks was directed, written and co-produced by Daniel Ribeiro, and stars Ghilherme Lobo as Leo, Fabio Audi as Gabriel, and Tess Amorim as Giovana. 

Given the extra time the feature length allowed there was some added elements that weren't included in the original short. Such as the over protectiveness of Leo's parents and also a more in depth view of how Leo and Gabriel's friendship unfolds. We see how Gabriel helps Leo break out of his shell and routine and helps Leo see things in a way others never did. One of my favourite scenes that encapsulates the feeling freedom Gabriel has helped Leo gain is the final scene where Leo is riding a bicycle and Gabriel is on the back directing him. We also see more of how their new friendship takes it's toll on Leo and Giovana's friendship. There is also the added element of the bullies at school and how differently Leo reacts to them in the feature length version than in the short where he laughs off the jokes.

Personally one thing I preferred in the short was their first kiss scene, where Gabriel kisses Leo and leaves without letting Leo know who it was. I loved the moment it finally dawns on Leo that it was Gabriel. I just thought that whole scene in the short was really lovely.

One thing I will say about the feature length version is it's more adult and includes adult content. Nothing extremely graphic but it's worth noting. 

Lastly what I love about both the short and the feature length version is there is no shame. It isn't about a boy coming to terms with loving another boy. It's about a boy coming to terms with falling in love with one of his best friends and being unsure if it's reciprocated. Much the same way anyone would feel, straight or gay. 

So I would definitely recommend checking out both the short and the movie. The short can be found on YouTube (linked above) and the film is on the US Netflix. It's a beautiful piece of film and is sure to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. 

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