The Way He Looks – Film Review

the way he look poster

Getting the chance to watch the film, The Way He Looks by Daniel Ribeiro is an experience I wish everyone had the chance to partake in. The film focuses on the life of a blind high school teen, Leonardo (Leo), who finds himself falling for the new kid in school, Gabriel. The film gives great perspective on life as a high school student, capturing arguments with parents and friends, bullying, late night sneaking out and fun parties. What I found most interesting about the film was the natural take on sexuality. When we see Leo begin to realize he is interested in Gabriel, he doesn’t struggle with the thought of being gay, but rather just isn’t sure whether Gabriel likes him or not. Never in the film does anyone say the word gay or insist that Leo “come out”. I find that this differs, however, from the social construction of our current society as I’ve found that someone who is gay will need to make somewhat of a spectacle when it comes to coming out. When I say social construction, I’m talking about the way society expects one to act based on their physical appearance. The film doesn’t show us Leo’s parents’ reaction which I think could have been interesting in continuing to build on the naturalization of sexual orientations other than heterosexual. One of the key scenes in my opinion was when Leo interacts with his bullies for the last time in the film. Leo often endures bullying at school and when bullies found that Leo was hanging out with Gabe very often, the homophobic bullying began. In this final scene, we see Leo take, in stride, his boyfriends hand and continue walking home, regardless of what the bullies think. This scene drives home something that one of my friends mentioned as we left the theater, “how could anyone find that wrong?” The emotional pull that this piece had was intense. The film did an amazing job at making the development of a homosexual relationship, completely natural. My overall experience with the festival was pretty short and sweet. It was great to be given the opportunity to interact with the LGBTQ community in a medium as casual as a movie theater; again, speaking wonders to the naturalization of non-heterosexual orientations. I personally left the theatre after seeing my film with a new perspective on sexuality. The Way He Looks made homosexual relationships seem, to me, as natural as any other relationship and I believe that was the goal. I’m happy to say I attended the Reelout Film Festival of 2015 and hope to potentially borrow and watch some of their other films.

– NoSpeakAfricano

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5 thoughts on “The Way He Looks – Film Review

  1. Excellent review. I agree that the final scene was also a key scene to underline the important themes of the film. I also like how you fully explained how the film normalized Leo’s sexuality and nervousness surrounding the new relationship, but that the nervousness was not attributed to the homosexual nature of his relationship. Furthermore, your noting of the lack of emphasis placed on the need to “come out” and how that differs from our society’s view, I think, is extremely important to the main themes of the film. I would be interested in hearing your insights regarding your new perspective on non-heterosexual relationships! -rayofsunshine

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  2. A very thorough and insightful review. I think you accurately presented the movie’s theme regarding the social constructs of homosexuality. I also strongly agree that the movie perfectly captures a natural homosexual relationship, I also believe that it was a strong part of the movie. Although the final scene in the movie was important and had a important message behind it I personally feel there were stronger scenes in the middle of film. Specifically during the conflict scenes as for me, had more of an impact of the message of the movie. I glad to here the movie made homosexual relationships normal to you as that is a challenge for some people.
    -secretlybatman

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  3. Nice work! I personally liked your review because you touched upon a point that I have noticed myself through watching many films centered upon LGBTQ relationships, that being that in most cases the lead characters always struggle with their sexuality and are sometimes extremely resentful of it. I definitely see why most films embrace that take on “coming out” because it can definitely be a difficult thing to do, especially with the added societal pressures people face, but it is nice, once in a while, to watch a film that handles the concept of homosexuality “naturally” and doesn’t necessarily make a huge production out of the character coming to terms with their sexuality after a tumultuous journey of finding themselves. People handle things differently, and I think this movie, and your review in particular, pointed this out.

    – masalaCHICKen

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  4. Good job on this review. I agree with the fact that you pointed out where the social construction of a person coming out has become a big thing in society as seen through past experiences and other mediums such as Facebook and TV shows. Though I did not see this film, it is good to hear that the film did not make such a big deal about this person’s key moment in their life. Overall, I think you did a good job summarizing this film and including your opinions in a positive manner and your connection to the film’s themes.
    -mejicanluis

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  5. Thanks for the comments everyone! My new perspective on non-heterosexual relationships is that they are extremely natural! Like I said I really loved the simple and natural take the film took on those homosexual relationships. There were definitely more controversial scenes than the one I touched on but the scene I wrote about really reminded me how natural the relationship was. – NoSpeakAfricano

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