French director Fabrice Cazeneuve's realistic TV film is a reminder that while gay-themed films have moved past the subject of "coming out" to explore the normalcy of same-sex life, the experience can still be devastating, particularly for teenagers. Seventeen-year-old Vincent Molina (Julien Bamgartner) is one of the more popular boys in his suburban high school, star of the boys swim team, a role model to his teammates and an object of adoration to the girls who try and catch his eye as he walks down the halls with his best friends Stephane (Francois Comar) and Noemie (Julia Maraval). No one, including Vincent's doting parents (Patrick Bonnel, Christiane Millet) and resentful, unemployed brother, Regis (Antoine Michel), knows Vincent is gay and that after school he periodically slips off to have sex with an older man (Nils Ohlund). Vincent realizes he's living a lie, but each time he's about to broach the subject with his family or friends — he comes close to telling Noemie after they have sex one weekend — he chickens out at the last moment. Vincent's secret is finally exposed when he makes a pass at dark-haired transfer student Benjamin (Jeremie Elkaim), who wears a lot of black and reads Lautremont. Benjamin seemed to be deliberately trying to attract Vincent's attention, but when they finally wind up in Vincent's bedroom, Benjamin pulls away when Vincent tries to kiss him. Once outside, Benjamin is roughed up by a group of Vincent's teammates who warn him to stay away from Vincent; in a moment of desperation, Benjamin lets it slip that Vincent is gay. The next morning, Vincent finds "Molina is a fag" scrawled across the school's windows; his teammates kick and punch him during practice; and while Stephane proves a faithful friend, Noemie is angry at having been so deceived. Things only get worse for Vincent when Regis gleefully tells his parents that their darling boy is, in fact, gay. Screenwriter Vincent Molina takes into account changing attitudes towards homosexuality and the resulting film never feels like the kind of thing we've seen time and again in the '80s and '90s. What's really at issue isn't so much self-loathing as it is the pressure of living up to other people's expectations. By the end of this sensitive and uplifting drama, Vincent begins to come to terms with other people's attitudes, and learns how to become a role model in a much deeper and truer sense.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: NR
- Review: French director Fabrice Cazeneuve's realistic TV film is a reminder that while gay-themed films have moved past the subject of "coming out" to explore the normalcy of same-sex life, the experience can still be devastating, particularly for teenagers. Seven… (more)
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