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“The Way He Looks,” is a romantic drama movie that portrays several aspects of sexuality, gender, and sexual orientation. In the current times, people can easily relate to the film regardless of content or language they speak since there is a universal sharing of experiences. The age and environment of the characters explain the necessity of engaging and navigating into romantic relationships and sexuality (Jung-Tae Jo, and SangHyunChoi 161). The movie follows Leonardo who is a blind teenage boy in high school taking his first steps towards sexuality and independence. The actor has two parents Laura and Carlos who are determined to protect him from the world with his friend Giovanna who help him through his day when he is not at home (Ribeiro, The Way He Looks). Leonardo clashes with his parents for not allowing him to do things that other teenagers do due to his situation.
The movie explores and discovers where human sexuality begins. Sexuality is not about who we have sex with or how often we have it, but it revolves around a person’s behaviors, feelings, attractions, and thoughts towards other people. Individuals can also find others emotionally, sexually, or physically attractive which play a significant role in their sexuality. For instance, in the film, Leonardo is attracted to Gabriel who is of the same gender which shows the complexity of his interaction with the environment. The social circle of Leonardo is small, and after Gabriel joins their school, he becomes the only male friend he has since most of his classmates have been harassing him for his disability (Ribeiro, The Way He Looks). The relationship between the two classmates grows, and they develop romantic feeling towards each other helping them discover their sexuality (Rahilly 67). The actors handle their emotions towards each other in a beautiful way making the film more real.
Movie’s Portrayal of Gender
The film takes up the top the topic of male gender stereotypes in the contemporary society. The behavior displayed by Leonardo are clear and different from what is expected of a male. The character is unsure of himself, nervous, and depend on his female friend Giovanna to do things such as unlocking a gate. He also smells and wears Gabriel sweatshirt before sleeping for the love that he feels for him. Such qualities are directly against the idea of dominant maleness which is surrounded by factors such as technical competence and authority aggression. The portrayal of women in the movie leaves something to be desired aside from the stereotype of subordination of females. Giovanna speaks to another woman who is a guidance counselor on the issue of studying abroad which has technicality (Ribeiro, The Way He Looks). The character is not interested in studying abroad but consults the counselor to obtain information on behalf of Leonardo. The movie demonstrates issues beyond gender stereotypes by presenting what is less expected in the society.
The story revolves around a gay male couple who are the main characters making it unconducive to deal with issues of gender relations. The relationship between men and women is the most socially acceptable way of thinking and being in most societies. The connections involve the demotion of women in decision making and power sharing in places of authority and homes. In the movie, the relationship between Leonardo and Gabriel make Giovanna angry and conflicted, but she manages to refrain from being dramatic over the issue (Ribeiro, The Way He Looks). Fabio and other classmates make fun at the gay nature of Gabriel and Leonardo even though they are not sure if it exists. The reaction of friends and classmates express the critical issues that the film deals with concerning sexuality.
Movie’s Portrayal of Sexual Orientation
Most people discover their sexual orientation in their childhood or young adults when they begin to romantically attracted towards others. However, for some individuals, it may take more time to learn their sexual orientation while to some it is clear from the beginning. Leonardo discovers himself as he navigates a sea of bullies, family, and friends. The character deals with an environment that does not realize that his blindness is not an inability since he has a particular way of perceiving the world. The actor struggles in changing the way people around him think about nature. During the process, Gabriel comes along as a new student unfolding his beauty and kindness which make them be romantically attracted to each other (Ribeiro, The Way He Looks). The movie depicts the trouble that teenage experience in such for their first love, desires, and new understanding.
The movie unfolds the unique challenges that youth face as they discover their sexual orientation. Leonardo had difficulties of openly addressing his sexuality to even his Giovanna who was his best friend. The standard of the society is that those born in a specific gender will grow attracted to the opposite gender. The initial reaction of Giovanna highlights the mindset of their community and challenges that the gay couple will face for defying the norm. Leonardo had difficulties finding a friend who understands and tolerate him and seeing such a person draw all his admiration and attraction to them (Ribeiro, The Way He Looks). The gay orientation of Gabriel and Leonardo is influenced by their environment and feelings which make the bond of their relationship stronger.
How the Movie Affect Viewers
The film brings a unique and powerful universality to viewers on issues of community culture. The movie could have a significant impact on audiences since it has a positive representation of gay teens who are fearlessly embracing their sexual orientation. Recently, the field has expanded, and production of such films would boost confidence and self-worth of people who are struggling to come out (Swanson 26). For instance, Leonardo can be labeled a victim of two different oppressions merging. The intersectionality of being blind and gay present him as a separate person from his peers. The viewers can relate to his experiences and learn to manage their challenges without fear of other people. Teenage audiences can also verify the difficulties in high school life such as being picked on for being different or bullied. The viewers can learn to deal with uncomfortable behaviors among their peers and know how to identify people of association. Teens can walk away from people who bully them and spend more time with their friends making them feel better about themselves.
Viewers can understand from the movie the importance of quality friendship as expressed by the gay couples. The two show their unconditional support and acceptance towards each other despite their sexual orientation. The aspect is admirable, and audiences can learn to appreciate one another irrespective of their sexuality. Viewers could understand the force that drives person sexuality is natural and learn to accommodate people who are different from them. The audience could also help people struggling with self-realization through providing them with proper guidance to enable them to make the right choices. Parents act of love could be an annoyance to their kids as observed in the relationship between Leonardo and his guardians (Ribeiro, The Way He Looks). Thus, parent viewers can learn to listen and take the time to understand their children instead of being overprotective.
How I am Affected by the Movie
In my opinion, although the movie is intertwined with issues of sexuality it also has a significant focus on romantic aspects. The video shows a collective way of storytelling by allowing gay people to have a means of representing their love story on display. The gay people are given the same level and rights to relate to each other as straight couples. The movies give people a better understanding through tackling the issues of gender, sexuality, and disability with a fresh look (Rahilly 67). The movie is an essential component of social work education that aims at enhancing favorable opinions toward diverse sexual orientation. The film could promote social engagement of gay with the society.
The movie changed my attitude and view of diverse sexual orientation. The struggles that the gay couple goes through in discovering their sexuality make one share their experience. Understanding the feeling of being stigmatized by your peers gives one the need to associate with the sexual minority to help them face their encounters. Learning the emotional sense of isolation that gay individuals face enables one to be more accommodative. A person is motivated to encourage people struggling with sexuality to cope with negative results from family and friends to compensate for lack of support (Rahilly 69). An individual is also excited to explore the connection to understand the nature of the relationship that exists which can help in providing people with education and therapy. The movie also has a great insight into parents developing a good relationship with children during teenage since that is when they make important decisions in their lives.
Jung-Tae Jo, and SangHyunChoi. "Sentiment Analysis of Movie Review for Predicting Movie Rating". Management & Information Systems Review, vol 34, no. 3, 2015, pp. 161-177. Daehan Academy of Management Information Systems, doi:10.29214/damis.2015.34.3.009.
Rahilly, Elizabeth P. "Re-Interpreting Gender and Sexuality: Parents of Gender-Nonconforming Children". Sexuality & Culture, 2018, pp. 67-99. Springer Nature, doi:10.1007/s12119-018-9532-4.
Ribeiro, Daniel. The Way He Looks. Vitrine Films, 2014.
Swanson, Alexander. "Audience Reaction Movie Trailers". Transformative Works and Cultures, vol 18, 2014, pp. 22-40. Transformative Works and Cultures, doi:10.3983/twc.2015.0611.
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