You'll Get Over It

Cerisaye's Review:

Vincent, 17, is swimming champion at his local school near Paris.  Role model to fellow students he’s the apple of his doting parents’ eye, to the disgust of older, unemployed, brother, Régis. Vincent and closest friends, Stéphane, and Noémie muse about their future.  Will they still be together next year?  Vincent and Noémie are involved romantically. Vincent seems to have it all, beautiful girlfriend, sports scholarship and a bright future.

The scene cuts to Vincent visiting a man for a sexual tryst.  A slightly clumsy way to reveal there’s more to Vincent than appearances suggest. 

Then he meets Benjamin, transferred from another school, trailing rumours of scandal.  The two boys connect, but Vincent’s charmed life goes topsy turvey after an abortive kiss, when Benjamin lets slip to school friends their star student is gay.

Vincent is ostracised and mercilessly bullied by homophobic schoolmates.  He’s outed to the family by the rightfully resentful brother, a seething ball of jealous anger.  Girlfriend, Noémie, hurt and confused, refuses to accept Vincent as friend not lover.  School authorities get involved when Vincent’s inability to train affects his swimming performance.

Vincent isn’t ashamed of his sexuality, unlike his English Lit teacher, whose stumbling attempts to make him feel better about the burden of being gay make Vincent burst into- understandable- laughter.  An exploratory trip to the Marais district of Paris to experience the gay scene makes Vincent uncomfortable. He refuses to be treated as another piece of meat.  He’s looking for more than just sex, close friendship like he has with Noémie.  Will Benjamin be the one?  And why did the boy refuse to allow Vincent that kiss?

I enjoyed the movie. It’s natural, performances are good and there’s a positive message.  However, I was angered by hypocritical refusal to allow onscreen gay sex the same level of explicitness as the het variety.

The film was made for TV, so I guess it was aimed at a straight audience.  It’s really quite offensive that the movie refuses to treat gay characters the same as straight ones. The relationship between Vincent and Noémie gets way more attention than the budding gay romance we’re supposed to believe happens between Vincent and Benjamin, who is a shadowy, underused character.  We’re allowed to see Vincent perform oral sex on the girl but a similar scene with his male lover cuts away as the zipper comes down.  We get lingering shots of female nudity but no penis is shown. 

To my mind this totally undermines the point of the film, that gay people are equal and should be out and proud.  I also felt very sorry for Vincent’s older brother, Régis, who never gets attention from either parent.  As he says, even the revelation Vincent’s gay doesn’t knock the golden boy from his pedestal.  There’s no equivalent for Régis of the touching scene in which his father tries to show his feelings for his gay son.  Pity.

Despite these flaws, however, I do recommend the movie.  Just don’t expect to see any real male passion.

Ladymol's Review:

An excellent French film about coming out. There’s nothing new said, no great revelations, but the poignancy of this film is brought out in the subtle acting of the very young cast. 

Vincent is outed accidentally by another gay student at the High School with him.  Things wouldn’t be so bad, except that he’s the star swimmer in the school, about to get a sports’ scholarship to college.

Vincent comes from a loving family, but even the most loving parents would be shocked and upset when one son announces that the other—favoured—one is gay in the middle of dinner.

His life in tatters, Vincent struggles to find a sympathetic ear, and he finds it in unlikely places. This film is never trite. Vincent visits a gay bar, and you’d expect in less finely crafted films for him to find solace there. He doesn’t. He’s preyed upon, and his experience there leads him to utter the sad cry of any seventeen-year-old boy: what am I going to do with my life?  A fellow gay teacher at schools tries to offer him help, but it’s crassly done, and Vincent rejects it.

That’s what this film is saying: Vincent needs to live in the real world and be accepted for what he is. Even at seventeen, he sees this.

Honest, heartfelt, very well acted—I recommend this movie as a very good example of the “coming out” genre. Incidentally, the boy who outs Vincent is played by Jeremie Elkaim, the star of Presque Rien. He’s just as gorgeous in this movie playing the enigmatic student who has such a dramatic influence over Vincent’s life.

If I had one gripe with the film it’s that it seems to undermine its own message: that homosexual love is just as valid as heterosexual. The het relationship between Vincent and his girlfriend is shown with some considerable sexual frankness. The girl’s body is lovingly shown, slowly revealed, lingered over. But the boys’ bodies? The boys’ love? All hidden and glossed over. It’s pretty cowardly and makes me long for films like Brokeback Mountain to be released, which will hopefully break through some of these taboos.

Despite all that, I recommend this film. It’s well worth seeing.


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