A coming-of-age story that is the definition of sweet—set in Sao Paulo, Brazil—The Way He Looks is a story about Leo, a blind teenager, and how he is navigating the world around him. With the support of his best friend, Giovanna, Leo has to deal with school bullies and overprotective parents, which has led him to contemplate participating in a foreign exchange program as a means of escape. Then Gabriel transfers into their class. The handsome, curly-headed boy becomes an instant favorite with the girls in class, but he forms a bond with Leo and Giovanna. Leo must now learn to incorporate his desire for independence with the feelings that his new friend engenders. Director Daniel Ribeiro’s The Way He Looks is a slow-paced, gentle telling of a modern boy coming into his sexuality. The scenes are relaxed and the action is realistic, giving the entire film a sense of realism. There’s no evil enemy out to destroy anyone, just an ignorant school bully picking on someone he perceives as weak. There’s no dramatic proclamation of love, just the bumbling awkwardness of teenage relationships. The dialogue between friends is filled with either self-deprecating or self-aggrandizing jokes that feel similar to close relationships most people have. While the world has been idealized, it is something that is just within reach. The emotional tension drives the movie forward, and the acting from the three main characters brings you back to the uncertain moments of your first crush. Ultimately, the film is a story filled with sweetness that borders saccharine in a realistic world of burgeoning sexuality and puppy love. From Strand Releasing (strandreleasing.com). —Bradley Donalson
Bradley Donalson is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.
February 11, 2021
February 8, 2021
February 3, 2021