Mary Poppins Returns
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What a sensitive and deeply moving film, hypnotizing from start to finish. The two male leads, especially Lucas Ferraro, are fantastic and they display an enormous chemistry together, making everything onscreen seem absolutely natural - which also benefits from a careful, more than appropriate slow pace.
"Plan B" is an auspicious debut from Argentinian filmmaker Marco Berger. It never received an Amercian theatrical release, but it's now available on DVD/streaming from Netflix. (God bless Netflix.)
It's not a great film, but it has special aspects. It indicates that Berger could become a major cineaste in the decade ahead. The subject matter is somewhat predictable. But in his exploration of it, Berger taps into some deep pockets of feeling inside his male characters. (There's not one meaningful female character in the story.)
Berger also shows real magic in his ability to coach actors. Lucas Ferraro, who's done a fair amount of Latin American television, and first-time actor Manuel Vignau, do some really touching, fully rounded work under Berger's guidance.
The story is easy to summarize. (That's one of the problems with the movie.) Guy No.1 loses his girlfriend, and she starts dating Guy No.2. Guy No.1 becomes jealous of Guy No.2 and for some reason wants to meet him. He even becomes slightly obsessed with the idea.
The two guys meet, unbeknownst to the woman. They become close friends almost immediately, smoking pot and crashing at each other's apartment often. Bromance gradually takes on a bit of romantic and erotic longing, freaking both of them out. But they're open-minded and non-homophobic enough to try not to suppress their feelings. The central drama surrounds what they're going to do about this and whether they have the guts to admit it to each other and/or act on it.
Bromance almost always brings up slight romantic and erotic feelings. There's nothing new about that. What's new is that artists all over the world are starting to explore it with more seriousness. Straight men are also becoming less frightened of exploring it. This is good for the species.
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The synopsis may sound like a thousand bad indie films with a GLBT slant, but Plan B is truly something special. Beautifully shot and with two utterly natural performances from Manuel Vignau and Lucas Ferraro, the film is perceptive, truthful, cliché free and does not fall into the traps of 'gay wish fulfilment', and never condescends or preaches. This is a film to treasure; moving, uplifting and finally deservedly optimistic. Punches are not pulled, the ending doesn't cop out. Recalls the likes of Y Tu Mamá También for its timelessness and emotional complexity, Plan B is a film I wish I could live in.
Interesting idea that is well presented and doesn't cop out at the end but it really would have benefitted from some strategic editing. There are far too many shots of blank static spaces which are I suppose meant to have a deeper meaning but they slow the film to a crawl at times. The two leads are very good and work well as a potential couple.
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