Tom of Finland (2017)
Critic Consensus: Tom of Finland honors its subject with an empathetic, even-handed, and above all entertaining look at the pioneering art he produced from private turmoil.
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Critic Reviews for Tom of Finland
In a subtle but wily performance, Strang never loses sight of his character's innate sense of resistance.
Karukoski turns a promising story into a flat, clammy bore.
In the end, the overarching theme of "Tom of Finland" is the power of art, even - or maybe especially - so-called deviant art.
"Tom of Finland" entertainingly recounts an intriguing and vital chapter of 20th-century gay history with style and deference.
Tom of Finland is a good, strong movie, but never threatens to be great. One salivates at the adventurous directions the film could have explored.
Audience Reviews for Tom of Finland
It is surprising that an artist who defiantly inflamed white-hot controversy might have had a personal story advancing more slowly than a Finish glacier. The acting and technical aspects of the film are all good -- I just wish something nontechnical happened on screen.
NO-MO-EROTIC - My Review of TOM OF FINLAND (2 Stars) How could a film about a legendary gay artist who pushed the envelope with his intensely sexualized images of impossibly beefy men be so unsexy and dull? If that was their intention, then they pulled it off! TOM OF FINLAND, directed by Dome Karukoski with a screenplay by Aleksi Bardy and six (SIX!!) other credited writing assists, means well, and tells a important story in gay history, but man is it a long slog. Born Touko Valio Laaksonen in 1920 and played by the extremely charisma-free Pekka Strang, the film rather artfully intercuts his time as a World War II soldier with his struggles to live as a gay man in Finland. It was a time of arrests, bar raids, and bullying if you were perceived to be gay. Touch retreats into his fascination with art, drawing image after image of pumped-up gay men. It was his way of giving to the community a powerful avatar, ones that could fight back against oppression and express desires many wouldn't dare to do. Eventually, he would be discovered in Los Angeles, where he traveled and built a loyal, adoring audience. The looks of 1970s butch and leather men were inspired by his work, instilling in the gay community a heretofore untapped confidence to stand up to its oppressors. As such, Tom of Finland, as he was eventually called, can stand beside the Stonewall Rioters as an integral part of the early gay rights movement. Karukoski knows how to tell a visual story and there's something magnanimous and touching about Tom's journey. This quiet, unassuming man stayed that way even while others adored him. It's a lesson in humility in the face of success. The film has its moments, especially in the Los Angeles section, where it picks up some much-needed steam. I enjoyed the sequences where they seek out a Hassidic Printer, who may be their last hope after getting rejected by everyone else. The AIDS crisis also rears its ugly head, further cementing the inspiring work Tom did and how it made people feel good despite the horrors surrounding them. Pekka Strang may be accurately portraying Tom, but if so, it doesn't make for compelling viewing. I just didn't really care to follow around this dullard for very long. It made me realize that a film can be important and unbearable simultaneously!
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