Review: Boy Meets Boy

Written and directed by Daniel Sanchez Lopez and co-written by Hannah Renton, It’s Harry’s final day in Berlin, and he has been partying for the last 48 hours. Johannes offers to help Harry print his boarding pass, leading them to spend the rest of the day wandering the city streets together. Starring: Alexandros Koutsoulis and Matthew James Morrison.

The filmmakers’ intention is fantastic, to almost create a queer Before Sunrise, a fleeting romance that’s intellectual and challenges the changing concepts of relationships in modern society. The writing hits some interesting points of being a person who firmly believes in monogamy and love in a world that has become increasingly filled with dating apps and casual sex. It also captures that special connection when you instantly click with another person but unfortunately it’s missing a charm or playfulness to see it through. It doesn’t give itself enough time to build up more of a personality, it charges in with a lot of confidence and a slight arrogance then barely takes a breath before the credits roll. That constant high energy without natural ebbs and flows starts to become slightly obnoxious, it needed to slow down a little and give you a chance to get more invested.

Lopez’s direction does pick up some of that slack, the atmosphere it builds ticks the boxes for romance and adds a tender feel to the story. It comes across as stylish and fresh, it modernizes romance and makes it feel very much reflective of today. However, there are some rather odd choices and angles with the direction, at times it’s purposely avoiding directly shooting its characters and it can feel unnecessary or even clumsy. Leaving shots continuing for too long before refocusing onto its characters, without giving an opportunity for the cinematography to branch out or capturing the city, it tends to get stuck on small details.

Alexandros Koutsoulis and Matthew James Morrison create a strong chemistry as Johannes and Harry, you can feel the relationship quickly developing between them and it’s the strongest note of sincerity that the film offers. The trouble is that while their performances are good, they’re slightly undermined by the relentless nature of the film, it would have been great to explore their personalities and back stories more but it’s left until very late in the game. They do both get across the formidable natures to their characters, they’re both smart, opinionated and cultured men, trying to figure out what their passion is.

Boy Meets Boy is an utterly modern romance that has the best of intentions but a muddled execution. It comes on too strong and doesn’t give you the chance to get to know its characters before they’re off and running. Lopez’s direction strikes the right note, adding a tenderness and really emphasising its romantic atmosphere but it clashes with the over-confidence of its story.

Verdict: ✯✯

Available on DVD & Digital 6 September

(Reviewed as part of BFI Flare)

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