Handsome Devil – Dir by John Butler

Cast: Fionn O’Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott, Michael McElhatton, Moe Dunford, Ruairí O’Connor, Mark Lavery, Eoin Griffin, Jamie Hallahan, Amy Huberman, Ardal O’Hanlon

I put this on my TIFF list this year because it’s an Irish film, but also because I quite enjoyed Mr. John Butler’s last TIFF film, The Stag. It was clichéd, campy and comical and I loved it.  Still think of The Machine every now and again.  I figured this next film would be even better and it was.

This is a very charming, heartwarming coming of age film. Set in a boys boarding school that revolves around the school’s rugby team it’s the story of friendship and being proud of who you are.   Ned, Fionn O’Shea is the school outcast who makes no bones about being different, is regularly persecuted by schoolmates and avoids rugby at all costs.  Connor, Nicholas Galitzine, is the new rugby superstar who arrives and made to share quarters with Ned. In my opinion this broke new ground as I’ve not seen the topic of sexuality and sports tackled in a film before.  Certainly not in this way. Hope this makes a difference for those who feel alienated and ashamed of who they are, but most of all opens the eyes of those who feel threatened by the differences in others.

There’s a point in the film where their English teacher shouts “If you spend your whole life being someone else, who is going to be you ?”.  Probably the most important piece of dialogue in the film and I hope it gets quoted as these are beautiful words we can all learn from.

The performances from Fionn O’Shea and Nicholas Galitzine are outstanding. Supporting cast are also very fine and you’ll recognize a few from Game of Thrones.

I took my daughter, her friend and my mother to see it. We all loved it. I do hope many enjoy this inspiring and lovable film.

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