My rating: 8
IMDB rating: 7.3
Don’t you just love falling in love with a character, rooting for them, trying to face the hardships with them? Ben van den Heuvel as ‘little Pim’ is exactly such a character! And by being so sweet and likable, it just paves the way for you to enjoy Jelle Florizoone as ‘Pim’ as well!
Doing my thesis on Belgium Cinema this year opened my eyes to Belgium’s strong LGBT cinema industry. And Bavo Defurne, the director of this film, is synonymous with this industry (check out his website: http://www.bavo.org/). North Sea Texas is his first feature film and as you will gather from his website, he is extremely proud of it. Known primarily for short films, Defurne makes the following statement about this film:
“…my short films didn’t explore what happened after that discovery [coming out]. This film is about what’s next, and I wanted that to be something happy”
The desolate coastal town, Yvette (Pim’s mother) and Etienne (Yvette’s lover) all represent burdens to Pim’s coming of age. And that is exactly what makes this film so clever, because the fact that Pim is gay, is never the huge issue. Although the film is about him finding and exploring his sexuality, he discovers it just as anyone else would in a coming-of-age film.
It is also a beautiful story about first love and the destruction it causes. Sabrina and Pim are victims of this love and they react in different ways to the destruction of it. Sabrina adopts a adult-like cynicism, while Pim tries to first fill the gap left by this love with the hunky, bohemian Zoltan and then when that also fails, he assimilates the life of his lost love. He moves into his house, become a member of his family and even sleeps in his bed. None of these things brings Gino back, of course.
It is only when his coming-out, and this love is recognized by someone outside of the relationship (Gino’s mum) that both he and Gino can accept their sexuality and their love for each other and be together. In that sense, the film does end happy (together with the beautiful cinematography that keeps the feel of the film ‘light’ and ‘happy’) and gives a ‘happy’ outlook on a subject that is often portrayed with so much difficulty.
A feel-good movie with so much more to offer than the usual boy-meets-girl, this film surprises in every genre that one tries to fit it into. If coming-of-age is your thing (and you know it’s mine!), watch it, if LGBT is your thing, watch it, if romance is your thing, watch it…
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