The Way He Looks (2014) |dvd/blu release

January 2nd, 2015
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director: Daniel Ribeiro

Cast: Tess Amorim,  Fabio Audi, Ghilherme Lobo,

This upbeat story of two teenagers is the feelgood coming-out debut from Brazilian filmmaker Daniel Ribeiro who came to fame with You, Me and Him in 2008. Pristine visuals and a winning script (Fipresci and Teddy awarded at Berlinale) ensures a watchable experience that centres on Leonardo, a blind college boy, managing his burgeoning sexuality and desperate to move on with his life in an upmarket part of Sao Paulo where he lives with his supportive, if overprotective, parents.

Extended from a short I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone filmed to finance the feature, Ribeiro develops his narrative extremely capably with this original premise, casting blind newcomer Ghilherme Lobo as his lead. Tess Amorim gives a thoughtful turn as his hopeful girlfriend Giovana, with well-concealed competitiveness for rivals in the school room.  But when Gabriel Fabio Audi comes into the picture, Giovana is pushed out amid much jealousy, as a palpable spark develops between the boys.

Lobo as Leo captures the sensitivity of gay love made even more poignant by his blindness and tentative approach to taking matters further with Gabriel.  Although for the most part uninventive visually, with the Brazilians looking very pale despite the sunny poolside life – there are some great sequences such as one in the nightclub. That said, it’s a brave attempt at handling a tricky story that comes off well and provides a strong and moving tale for young gay teens hesitant at coming out,  to feel encouraged by. MT

THE WAY HE LOOKS IS BRAZIL’S ENTRY TO THE 2015 ACADEMY AWARDS. It is available on dvd/blu from 9 February 2015



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