Global Film Initiative / Year: 2009
Global Film Initiative / Year: 2009
Coming out is not easy for affable college student Leo in this funny and endearing comedy/drama.
Managing to be equally touching, funny and sexy, Leo’s Room charts an unusually sensitive journey of self-discovery (and coming out) for a young gay man at a critical crossroads. Easy-going but secretly troubled college student Leo (Martín Rodríguez) is thrown when his girlfriend – fed up that he can’t get it up – dumps him. He knows he’s gay but can’t seem to admit it to his psychiatrist, his supportive mother, his stoner roommate or even to himself. Internally conflicted, the mop-headed Leo becomes friends with an old female schoolmate, and he re-starts his heterosexual façade. Salvation possibly comes in the person of Seba (Gerardo Begérez), a handsome fellow student who wants more than a one-night stand with Leo.
While dealing with topics of sexual suppression and self-awareness, the film remains light and often hilariously funny – due in no small part to Rodríguez - who plays Leo - and Arturo Goetz as his zoned out, television-addicted, couch potato roommate who knows a lot more than he’s letting on. A thoroughly enjoyable and sophisticated dramedy from Uruguay. (Spanish with English subtitles)
just a reviewer wrote on 12/29/2010:
......."It's Leo...and I want Out!"
NOTES: Possible Spoilers Ahead / Half-Star more awarded cause He's lovable.
(( FULL DISCLOSURE-----STOP at this point.....IF what you're anticipating, sex scene-wise, is anything more than a few tame love-making shots. But continue on.....IF you can withstand a little trip back to a place so many of us, in our pasts, dwelt: A lonely....sad....emotionally draining place....that's called "The Closet" ))
As your trip Guide through this unpretentious little film, you'll follow along after the sweetest of guys, our Leo Brasetti. Yes, he's as wonderful a young man as you could ever hope to meet / hook up with.....if he could only figure out who and what he is. (Some Guide, indeed!). Oh sure, he knows deep down, BUT there are just all these fears of discovery.....all these people he would be disappointing.....all these other excuses even we used for our own inability to be "out and proud" (oh, you were different....well, Congrats to you!). So, you're gonna meet him.....follow him through some trials and tribulations.....until maybe you begin to see that glimmer of hope which will make the time you've spent together all worthwhile.
So, getting back on track with this confused young man....he's the one so choked over trying to be the person he was born to be, that his life has become a turmoil. Yet, in his midst....right there in plain sight....are ones accepting of his being himself. Foremost is a marvelous mother who point blank tells him she just wants him "to have someone of his own.....whether it be girlfriend or boyfriend." And that wonderful, old therapist who is trying to pull it all out and into the open, as painlessly as possible. But our Leo is so tightly wrapped, their words don't seem to get through. It is so bad that he even worries what his several years deceased father might think of him. So, who could blame you now, if you've begun to wonder this: How can any but the best of actors convey this kind of emotional turmoil.....how is this relatively new, young Latino actor, with only one unknown film under his belt.....gonna put it all across to me? Well, Viewers, I'm here to tell you that this Martín Rodríguez will project Leo so vividly, so discomfortingly....yet so endearingly....that you'll want to enfold him in your own arms and ease his confusion. This reviewer knows nothing of South America's pool of young male actors willing to portray a gay character, but I cannot imagine there could ever have been a better selection for doing that than Martin. And no way can I see any other actor possessing his unconscious and quirky little way of sucking in / chewing on his lower lip during emotional and stressful times....it's just who Rodriguez is (yes, again, endearing). Then there's Gerardo Begérez, as Leo's wanna-be lover (Seba / Sebastien). He is first-rate....and a fine selection for putting across the playful protectiveness his character needs to project.
A spinoff or side story (to me, unfortunately, taking up near half the film's running time) involves Leo's reconnection and interaction with a former primary schoolmate---Caro by name---along with some of her family members. In her, we're given an at times catatonic, depressed young lady who, to my thinking, was likely thrown into the mix, by Writer / Director Enrique Buchichio, to give us more insight into Leo's amazing empathy for others. I will leave further comment on Caro and her storyline to other reviewers of this film.
To end this up, let me just acknowledge there may be some of you who ask why this small film would end with Leo deciding upon a little road trip, and even see it as more of his avoiding reality. However, I believe Buchichio is showing it as that final little journey of self-discovery for our Leo. Showing that all will turn out well (in the way any gay romantic would wish) and giving us a wonderful, final wide-screen shot of the car windshield and close-up of Leo's face (yes, you CAN see his thoughts), as it lights up in a small smile during the film's last split seconds. Yes, that's right, Leo IS telling us something. And then you know.....you just KNOW, in that very moment: He's decided to throw OPEN the door to "Leo's Room."
Amos Lassen wrote on 10/02/2010:
“Leo’s Room” (“El cuarto de Leo”)
Coming to Terms with Sexuality
Leo, a young man coming to terms with his own sexuality, runs into Caro, a primary school friend he once thought he loved when they were kids. Caro is now trying to ward off her own personal demons. This casual re-encounter will affect their personal conflicts without either truly understanding each other's problem.
The scenario may sound familiar, but there's a lot more to “Leo's Room”(“El cuarto de Leo”) than just another angst-filled tale of a young gay man's process of self acceptance. In his filmmaking debut, Uruguayan writer-director Enrique Buchichio demonstrates a flair for crafting fully realized, memorable characters and complex emotional situations that operate on multiple levels. The characters often surprise you, the way real people do.
When the movie opens, the 20-something Leo (Martin Rodriguez) is having girlfriend trouble. Everything in their relationship is fine except for sex. (Leo seems to have no interest). After his girlfriend's patience runs out, and she leaves him and Leo, hoping for a cure, goes to a psychiatrist (Arturo Goetz).
However, Leo knows exactly what's going on but just can't bring himself to admit it. Inside the room he rents from a pothead slacker (Rafael Soliwoda) who rarely leaves his couch, Leo surfs Internet chat rooms in which gay men troll for sex.Gradually, though, he grows bolder and eventually sets up meetings with men. The first hook-up doesn't go well. The second with an easygoing young man named Seba (Gerardo Begerez) is a perfect physical and emotional match. Seba is even willing to put up with Leo's furtiveness about the whole gay thing.
There's a subplot involving Leo's chance encounter with Caro, a former schoolmate and now a sullen, depressed young woman. Leo pursues a platonic relationship with her even while things with Seba continue to heat up, deluding himself into thinking he can have the best of both worlds.
Leo's Room is filled with wonderful little touches and character beats: the surprising observations of the drug-addled couch potato who turns out to be a lot sharper than he appears; the casual way in which Leo's mother lets him know she knows he's gay and that it's OK; the knowing, compassionate smile Seba gives Leo as he watches him try frantically to come up with a lie to hide his homosexuality from Caro. You've seen all these elements done before, but the modest, sharp Leo's Room feels utterly fresh.
Rating: Not Rated
Director: Enrique Buchichio
Screenwriter: Enrique Buchichio
Length: 1 hr 35 min
A.K.A.: El Cuarto de Leo
Studio : Global Film Initiative
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