Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho or The Way He Looks is now on Netflix. Okay, so it’s been there since March, but I just recently watched it. And I loved it! This movie is so sweet, and I was incredibly impressed by the level of innocence that was preserved. I am no expert when it comes to cinema critiques, but I have watched several gay-themed movies, and this slice-of-life piece preserves the innocence of the main characters who, at the start of the movie, have never been kissed.

The Way He Looks or Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (actual translation “Today I Want to Go Back Alone”) is a Brazilian film from 2014 depicting a young blind boy coming of age (the gay way!). The film was based on the short film  I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone (Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho) and was directed, written and co-produced by Daniel Ribeiro. The stars of the short film, Ghilherme Lobo, Fabio Audi, and Tess Amorim resurrected their original roles for this longer film.

The Way He Looks won the FIPRESCI Prize and the Teddy Award at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. It was also selected as the Brazilian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but sadly, it wasn’t nominated.

Like I alluded to at the beginning of this post, I really appreciated the innocence that this movie captured and preserved. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not really a prude. Sex in movies is fine by me, but this movie stuck out to me because the main characters were in high school and hadn’t had their first kisses yet. Not only that, but there is a scene where the main character, Leonardo, puts on the other boy’s, Gabriel’s, sweatshirt and proceeds to pleasure himself as he smells the sweatshirt. There was nothing gross or obscene in this scene; rather it was a glimpse into a real teenager’s life. It was intimate without being crass.

It was refreshing to see a movie about young love that didn’t focus on graphic sexual encounters. When it comes to most gay-themed movies, the direction seems to exploit the sexual relationships to sell the movie more effectively because, let’s be honest, sex sells. But, I appreciate the director of The Way He Looks for preserving the innocence theme of this heartwarming movie. The main character, Leonardo, will touch your heart with his amazing portrayal of a blind boy’s struggle to independence and romance.