Category Archives: Brazilian

The Way He Looks-2014

The Way He Looks-2014

Director Daniel Ribeiro

Starring Fabio Audi, Ghilherme Lobo

Scott’s Review #408


Reviewed June 4, 2016

Grade: B+

The Way He Looks is a foreign language film (Brazilian) from 2014 that tells a coming-of-age story about a blind high school student, who develops feelings for the new kid in town. The other boy has rapidly become his new best friend and the boys, while unsure of the other’s sexual preferences, fall in love.

The film is a charming story about a modern romance, now becoming more prevalent today.

Leonardo (known as Leo) is a blind high school student struggling to be his true self.  His close friend Giovana (Tess Amorim) is in a similar situation as neither has ever been kissed, yet they feel adolescent desires- they are lonely but share a close bond.

Regardless of his disability, Leo is quite independent, despite having parents who border on smothering. One day, a new student named Gabriel volunteers to sit behind Leo in class and strike up a friendship.

Giovana, unaware of Leo’s sexual preferences, develops a crush on Gabriel.

The film then tells a sweet story about a young, blossoming, romance. The main characters do not face particularly tough obstacles from outside sources, but rather from each other as their feelings and emotions are fragile.

In addition to romance, the film focuses on the friendships between Leo, Gabriel, and Giovana.

The Way He Looks is a warm film. It is sweet, compassionate, and tenderhearted. The viewer witnesses a budding romance between two teenagers and the fact that they are both males is secondary- that is how charming the film is.

The audience will root for Leo and Gabriel because they are nice kids. Giovana, the outsider, also has a rooting factor- she is in no way a villain, nor does she harbor resentment for either Leo or Gabriel, but rather yearns for her first romance and happiness.

The film wisely does not turn her into an emotional wreck, or a psycho. Sure, she gets drunk at a party, but this is only to escape her feelings.

I recoiled at the scene after scene of Leo’s parents either fretting about something, worried sick about Leo coming home late or worried that something may happen to their son.

Relax already. Life is not meant to be spent frazzled because your son is blind.

The parents are not the strongest written characters in the film and are rather secondary characters. The case is the same for the bullies, the slutty girl, and the teacher.

The film belongs to Leo, Gabriel, and Giovana.

The supporting characters in The Way He Looks are meant to react to the central characters.

The Way He Looks is about a same-sex, young romance. Charming, not too heavy, with likable characters, who one can root for. There are no bombs, car chases, or explosions needed.

The Way He Looks (2023) is a slice of life that is simple, pure, and true.

Kiss of the Spider Woman-1985

Kiss of the Spider Woman-1985

Director Hector Babenco

Starring William Hurt, Raul Julia

Scott’s Review #187


Reviewed October 24, 2014

Grade: B+

1985 was not the best year for film nor was much of the 1980s, as I think about it, but unique standouts do exist and Kiss of the Spider Woman is an unusual and artistic film.

Set in present-day South America (Brazil) two men are imprisoned for very different reasons and are cellmates in the prison where they are captives.

Complete opposites, they form an unlikely bond, centering on friendship, but also skirting toward romance, flirtation, and at times, love.

Luis Molina is outwardly homosexual and extremely flamboyant and perhaps out of touch with reality as he fantasizes and describes romantic Nazi films. He is imprisoned for not only being homosexual but for having sex with an underage male.

The other man, Valentin Arregui, is a liberal, political activist, who has been beaten, tortured, and interrogated due to his revolutionary-leaning politics. He has a rough, macho edge to him.

On the surface, the two men have nothing in common, but due to proximity, forge a close bond and mutual respect as their lives pre-imprisonment are explained to each other as well as to the audience.

The true strength of this film is the performance, very against type, of William Hurt- the best performance of his career by a mile. He completely embodies the character of Luis in his effeminacy, yearning, pain, and obsession with escaping reality through film.

Raul Julia has the same effect, though in a completely different way, as he portrays Valentin. Luis tenderly comforts Valentin, who is being poisoned by prison officials, by incorporating his stories of films into Valentin’s real life, as he yearns for his separated lover, Marta.

As Luis begins falling in love with Valentin, and one is seemingly double-crossed by the other, it leads to a test of courage and dedication to each other.

The ending of the film is a sad one, dark, yet thought-provoking, and shows love, tenderness, and bravery.

My only negative from Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) is at moments, using the flashback series or through the film that Luis explains, it is tough to follow and surmise what is exactly going on in the story, but the performances of Hurt and Julia, and the chemistry between them, are the films major strengths.

Oscar Nominations: 1 win-Best Picture, Best Director-Hector Babenco, Best Actor-William Hurt (won), Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium

Independent Spirit Award Nominations: 1 win-Best International Film (won)