The Way He Looks

"Excellent"

The Way He Looks Review


From Brazil, this charming teen drama is disarming and engaging as it explores first love and burgeoning sexuality. Winner of a top prize at the Berlin Film Festival, the movie is warm and funny, with an honest approach that's rarely seen on-screen. And filmmaker Daniel Ribeiro takes such a relaxed approach to the story that the characters are instantly recognisable, dealing with issues anyone who has been through adolescence will readily identify with. Most important is the way it offers hope for kids who are outside the mainstream.

At the centre, 17-year-old Leo (Guilherme Lobo) is a cheeky blind student who relies on his best friend Giovana (Tess Amorim) to navigate his way through school. He doesn't have a clue that she has a crush on him, which is just as well since he is instantly intrigued by a new kid in class, Gabriel (Fabio Audi). It's bad enough being blind, but how is he supposed to know if Gabriel likes him as well? Because it seems like he's more interested in the class slut Karina (Isabela Guasco). Meanwhile, the idiotic school bully Fabio (Pedro Carvalho) and his gang are making Leo's life miserable, but he just gets on with things. Yearning for some independence from his protective parents (Eucir de Souza and Lucia Romano), Leo starts looking into foreign exchange programmes, which shocks Giovana.

This may sound like the usual teen romantic triangle, but it's played with such a gentle pace and earthy humour that every scene catches us by surprise. Filmmaker Ribeiro has a way with depicting key moments in an offhanded way that sends happy chills down the spine, delving into serious emotions without even a hint of sentimentality. And for a film with issues of disability and sexuality, it's remarkabl that it never preaches its messages. Leo, Giovana and Gabriel are characters who do the usual teenage things in startlingly realistic ways that never fall back on the usual high school movie cliches.

All three actors recreate their roles from Ribeiro's short version of this story (shot when they were 14), and they wonderfully capture both the edgy humour and unexpected emotions of adolescence. Relationships shift unexpectedly, while awkward conversations reveal dark truths that help the characters move forward. But at the centre, this is a story about the disorienting surprise of first love. And as Leo begins to work out how he feels, the film knowingly touches on some much bigger issues including bullying and peer pressure. Most of all, it's refreshing to see a movie that isn't afraid to make the audience feel warm inside, and also one in which being blind and gay is essentially irrelevant.

 

Rich Cline



The Way He Looks

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th November 2014

Box Office USA: $84.6k

Distributed by: Strand Releasing

Production compaines: Lacuna Filmes

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 26 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 8.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Daniel Ribeiro

Producer: Daniel Ribeiro, Diana Almeida

Starring: Ghilherme Lobo as Leonardo, Fabio Audi as Gabriel, Selma Egrei as Maria, Tess Amorim as Giovana, Eucir de Souza as Carlos, Júlio Machado as Professor, Naruna Costa as Professora

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.