Film Review: “The Way He Looks”

The humble and engaging film, “The Way He Looks” is one that leaves the audience with a new perspective and awareness towards each character. Ghilherme Lobo (Leonardo) has appeared in films such as Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho (2010) and Má Adolescência that is announced to release in 2016. This film is the classic modern love story with a twist everyone will enjoy and be infatuated by. Leonardo is a blind teenager seeking independence and in hope of love, as he struggles through high school humiliated. His friendship with Giovanna played by Tess Amorim allows Leonardo to see what she sees; understanding that their friendship is uncommon but the bond they share between the two of them is remarkable. The movie is simply about blind love. Leonardo becomes friends with a new student and instantly falls in love with Gabriel, unknowing at this point what Gabriel’s feelings are towards him. This film is unordinary as it features a queer love coming of age story, having a wonderful way of displaying what teenagers go through dealing with these emotions and experiences in their daily life. Leo does not want his disability to prevent others form treating him differently and unusual. The film is portrayed with extreme care and tenderness, along with a sense of insight on Leo that once the first kiss happens it has the viewers at surprise yet entirely waiting on the special moment. Ribeiro demonstrates how young love sparks into an inspirational and developing time in ones life. Ghilherme Lobo who plays Leo possesses strength and courage of Fabio Audi who play’s Gabriel is creatively shown as this typical love story out folds. During the final scenes in Leo’s bedroom are a romantic portrayal of average everyday young couple first experiences together; anxious, nervous, yet eager. Gabriel doesn’t hold back as he mentions the fact he remembers their first kiss, and is interested in experiencing a more serious connection with that person. As Leo begins to comprehend that Gabriel is speaking about himself it initiates the two not holding back, quickly expressing their feelings out loud. This film is a romance about seeking love, expressing it in the most sophisticated yet sensational experience.

The most alluring scene that stands out in my mind is when Leo was searching for Gabriel and he stumbles upon him swimming and flirting with Katrina. This strikes to Leo’s head making him jealous and hurt, forcing him to calm himself by walking away. Soon after, Giovanna is surprised and approaches Leo as he then reveals his new feelings towards Gabriel. Giovanna reacts by saying “she never knew Leo like that” leaving her to walk away. Giovanna then finds Leo once again, sits down and hugs him. This scene strikes as one of the most important because it is when Leo has the courage to come out to his best friend. Having this new information makes Giovanna and Leo’s friendship stronger than it was ever before.

Leo has a challenge of being blind and he is unable to participate in some everyday activities such as shaving which can be seen as Hegemony Masculinity. Being a man and having a social norm of masculinity set by society, a common daily job is to shave, but he is incapable to complete this task without his father’s guidance. Leo never expressed his sexual attraction towards anyone prior to Gabriel. Continuously through out the film Leo was teased about different judgments others had towards his disability, but Sex-Role Learning can be seen as one of the tormenters, intimidate Leo as they yell out slangs suggesting that he should be walking Giovanna home as the male figure would be seen to do instead of him needing her help to get home. Assuming that Leo might have been into her, Giovanna did not consider him as possibly homosexual until he came out to her while camping, which can be seen as Compulsory Heterosexuality. This film illustrates Homophobia from Leo’s classmates regularly calling out names and bullying, using the phrase “Is that your new boyfriend”. Leo’s frustration and tolerance towards his peers came to an end as he clutched Gabriel’s hand in response to the intimidators, which in turn silenced them.

The festival taken place on the weekends were excellent experience for everyone who went, as it was a chance to see movies that would not be regularly broadcasted in the big screen or advertised on television. Students wouldn’t regularly attend movies like this so for this festival to take place it allowed a new sense of knowledge and appreciation through recommendation of this course. The Grand Theatre and Downtown Kingston has a wonderful layout and the location of the festival made it more enjoyable for the students. I think this festival will hopefully encourage students to respect and value the culture and social aspects we currently live in. Overall the festival had a great turn out and was well organized, it was a very good success.

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2 thoughts on “Film Review: “The Way He Looks”

  1. This is another very interesting sounding film, and I hope to see it in the future! When you mention the protagonist is unable to shave without the help of his father, how did this affect him? I’m curious about the hegemonic masculinity reference, was it towards the protagonist or his father? It’s also mentioned that the bullying experienced helped the protagonist with sex role learning. It’s very interesting that through tormenting, he was shown the “ideal” characteristics of sex roles. Overall though, this seems like a very compelling film!

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  2. “The Way He Looks” definitely seems interesting by the way you describe it and makes me want to see this film. What is interesting to me about this film is that Leonardo is a blind teenager who is also gay. This is interesting to me because Leonardo would mainly be attracted to individuals based on what he cannot see, such as personality and intelligence. However, you describe Giovanna as being surprised when Leonardo comes out to her as being gay. Giovanna’s reaction to Leonardo telling her that he is gay shows Giovanna’s compulsory heterosexuality beliefs. Your review of this film makes it seem very captivating.

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