Boys (2014)


Two high school relay racers (Gijs Blom and Ko Zandvliet) develop a same-sex attraction, but one of the boys is afraid to make their relationship public. This Dutch drama/romance features a likable, competent cast and is shot in several beautiful locations around the Netherlands. As a ‘coming out’ story, it doesn’t break the mold in the slightest, but director Mischa Kamp does a fine job avoiding many of the genre’s cliches and pitfalls — mostly by opting to show, not tell.

Some of the film’s pivotal moments play out in a refreshing, non-verbal way, including the boys’ first kiss at a swimming hole — shot from an overhead ‘God’s eye’ view that the boys then float on their backs and look into. I also credit Kamp for not involving any displays of homophobia in the film. It’s gotten to the point where we should treat homophobia in coming-out movies like we do Hitler in a holocaust film. It’s often better to tell such stories without reminding of us of the inextricable obvious.

On one hand, the ‘gay first love story’ been told a hundred times already. But on another, falling in love is such a universal experience — and a profound one — that I don’t mind it being told again and again, especially when the filmmakers succeed in making you feel like it’s the first time again.

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