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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Way He Looks (Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho)

A different kind of romantic comedy

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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February 4, 2015 -- There are a lot of “coming of age” movies and a lot of romantic comedies, but very few good ones. This is one of those rare good ones. It isn't a great film, but it is certainly a good one. It is a nice little lightweight, but enjoyable film.

I actually watched this last year, but somehow or other I either forgot to write a review, or the review got lost amongst the 80 or so reviews I wrote during the mad end-of-year crush of movies I saw and reviewed between November 26, 2014 and January 31, 2015. At any rate, I certainly did not forget the experience of watching this very pleasant little movie. The original (Brazilian) title, “Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho” means “Today I Want To Go Back By Myself.”

While this does fit into the romantic comedy genre (although it is also mildly dramatic at times) and it is a coming of age story too, it is unusual. First of all, the main character is blind. Secondly, two of the main characters in the film are gay and one is not, forming a most unusual romantic triangle.

The third thing that makes it unusual, given the story, is that it is not overly dramatic. The obligatory suicide is absent. Also absent is the usual emotional angst, along with the histrionics and major dramatic blowups you usually see with this kind of story. Thank god. This is a pleasant change of pace. I've seen more of that self-destructive crap than I can stand lately.

This film is a lot more subtle in its approach to the age old problems involved with young love. The main character, Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo) was born blind and he feels that his parents, (played by Eucir de Souza and Lucia Romano) are too protective, his mother moreso. He is a nice kid, but he starts to rebel against his parents. He begins planning a trip on his own to attend school abroad in the United States.

Leonardo's best friend since childhood is Giovana (Tess Amorim). She is in love with Leonardo and is always helping him and looking out for him when the school bullies play pranks on him. Giovana doesn't want Leonardo to leave Brazil to study, but, being a good friend, she helps him get information on a special study program in the U.S. for handicapped children.

When a new boy, Gabriel (Fabio Audi) arrives in Leonardo's classroom and befriends him, Giovana is jealous of their friendship and feels she is getting left out of activities they used to do together. At the same time, she and other girls in school are attracted to the handsome Gabriel. These conflicting feelings of attraction and jealousy play out in funny and complex ways in the film.

Eventually, everything gets straightened out when Giovana, and the rest of the kids at school learn the truth about Gabriel and Leonardo. This film is well acted and well written. It does have a happy ending, the kind I like, which is the kind of ending that makes some critics get excessively grumpy. Films with this kind of gentle humor get no respect. The ending of this film, and everything else about this film, is just fine by me. This film rates a B. In Portugese with English subtitles.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2015 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)