Short/Feature: The Way He Looks

The Way He Looks cover

The Way He Looks

The Short: I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone

I Don't Want to Go Back Alone screenshot

Original title: Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho
Year: 2010 | Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Just as one might expect, I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone is basically just a non-fleshed-out prototype for the feature-length The Way He Looks. It’s fine, effective, but man, I’m not a big fan of how Leo’s friends treat him sometimes. You can’t just kiss a blind kid and run away, man. That is seriously uncool.

Language: Portuguese
Genre: Romance, Drama
Runtime: 17 min.
Rating: Not Rated

Director: Daniel Ribeiro
Starring: Ghilherme Lobo, Tess Amorim, Fábio Audi, Nora Toledo, Júlio Machado

The Feature: The Way He Looks

The Way He Looks screenshot

Original title: Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho
Year: 2014 | Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I recently rewatched The Way He Looks in an effort to educate myself on features that started life as short films. It doesn’t quite live up to my memory of the first time I watched it, mostly thanks to a poorly-written best friend character and quite a few plot contrivances. There’re also some queer film tropes that are hit pretty heavily, but considering that at this point, this is an older gay film, that can be forgiven.

The Way He Looks is still a better-than-average gay drama, even if the bar is set somewhat lower for that specific genre. Making the main character blind definitely adds a unique twist to a well-worn tale, and serves to add thematic depth where there might otherwise be little to none. The performances are lovely and the film looks wonderful. It’s obviously crafted with care.

I will say, though, I don’t think that simply having the protagonist have a disability should be inherently rewarded as “taking a risk.” I do appreciate the subplot regarding Leonardo’s (Ghilherme Lobo) desire for independence (although it does really paint Giovana [Tess Amorim] into a caretaker role that does not do her character any favors), but ultimately, this is still a fairly paint-by-numbers gay film. One of the better executed ones, sure, but risky? I’m not so sure.

I enjoyed it well enough, but hopefully we start seeing gay films that take more risks with their stories now that the genre is becoming somewhat more mainstream.

Language: Portuguese
Genre: Romance, Drama
Runtime: 1 hr. 36 min.
Rating: Not Rated

Director: Daniel Ribeiro
Starring: Ghilherme Lobo, Fábio Audi, Tess Amorim, Lúcia Romano, Eucir de Souza

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