DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Handsome Devil

This warm and tender Irish drama about homophobic bullying in a boarding school is simple and lighthearted on the surface, but the message is no less pertinent and compelling - on Disney + UK on Friday, July 29th; also available on other platforms

Ireland is a fast-changing nation. The profoundly Catholic country was the first one in the world to legalise gay marriage by the means of popular vote, despite fierce opposition from the Church. The society has suddenly come out of the closet, and cinema is keeping the closet doors open so that no one is left inside.

But gay marriage isn’t the only issue that matters to LGBT people. Handsome Devil touches is a very touching and moving gay drama, urgent in its simplicity, delving with two woes that remain pandemic: gay bullying in schools and LGBT representation in sports – the latter is often described as the last and most resilient stronghold of homophobia. The movie succeeds to expose both problems and the destructive consequences for the afflicted with a very gentle and effective approach.

Puny and nerdish Ned (Fionn O’Shea) and handsome sportsman Conor are forced to share a bedroom at their boarding school. Conor is strangely lonely and introspective, despite his looks and the popularity that the sports bestow upon him. He slowly begins to mingle with Ned, with whom the shares a taste for music. Their bond is then tested by the school authorities, with only the teacher Dan Sherry (Andrew Scott) supporting their friendship and musical affinity. Ned, Conor and Sherry are accomplices of each other’s sexuality.

handsomedevil2800450

Partly narrated by the unabashed and unrepentant Ned, as if he was recollecting a dark chapter of his life and of his country’s history, Handsome Devil contrasts the grotesque masculinity often associated with rugby against the alleged artistic sensitivity of homosexuals. Of course the equations “straight = sports” and “gay = arts” are not accurate. Instead they have been pushed upon us in attempt balkanise and stigmatise people with diverse sexualities. Thankfully Ireland is now moulting its old layers of homophobia, and these equations are set to fall off with so many other prejudices.

The climax of the film towards the end is very powerful, and it’s guaranteed to bring you tears. It’s a turning point in the film, just like the gay marriage referendum in the country. In fact, this sequence is akin to the referendum in more than one way: it forces the film characters to cast a vote, just like Irish citizens did in 2015. Top it all up with Rufus Wainwright’s heartfelt wailing. This is the perfect gay tearjerker, without ever being corny and vulgar. This is a noble film about strong and noble characters.

Little note: this is not a film about sex, instead it’s a movie focused entirely on sexuality and lifestyle choices attached. There are no picante sequences, which may come as a disappointment to those who would like to have their libido tickled.

Handsome Devil is out in selected cinemas across the UK and Ireland on Friday April 28th (2017). on Disney + UK on Friday, July 29th. Also available on other platforms.


By Victor Fraga - 27-04-2017

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a di...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

Where Elephants Go

Catalin Rotaru
Gabi Virginia Sarga
2024

Victor Fraga - 21-06-2024

Highly experimental, bonkers Romanian film follows three lonely citizens of Bucharest as desperately seek to inject meaning into their lives - in the Official Competition of the 23 Tiff Romania [Read More...]

The Old Bachelor

Oktay Baraheni
2024

Victor Fraga - 21-06-2024

Father and son battle for the love of a seductive young woman, in this elegant however prosaic Iranian drama-turned-crime-thriller from Iran - in the Official Competition of the 23rd Tiff Romania [Read More...]

Our dirty questions to Jay Liu

 

Eoghan Lyng - 21-06-2024

Eoghan Lyng interviews the director of Anywhere the Wind Blows, a ":punchy" and queer love story from Hong Kong; they talk about LGBTQ+ ideologies in the Chinese region, the "guilt of comfort experienced by refugees, Joachim Trier, Robin Campillo, and more! [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *