Happy Pride month to all my fellow LGBTQ+ people 🌈
Each week, I am going to review either a book, TV show, or film that I think is super important for naturalising queers in the media! I’m aiming to have either the writers, or actors, be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, as well.
First up is the Irish drama Handsome Devil, written and directed by John Butler.
First of all, if you love Irish accents and rugby, then I really shouldn’t have to say anything else in order to convince you to watch this film.
But if I do, here’s the cracker: there. is. no. romance.
It is incredibly difficult to find a good, soulful queer focused film that a) exists, and b), doesn’t focus on coming out or romance (looking at you, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens). Handsome Devil is exactly that; described by The Guardian as ‘The rugby buddy film that tackles homophobia with a laugh‘, the film stars Fionn O’Shea (Normal People), Nicholas Galitzine (Highstrung), and Andrew Scott (Sherlock), as pupils and teacher at an Irish private boarding school that’s obsessed with rugby.
Filmed at Castleknock College, the film boats of Ireland’s natural beauty in absolutely breathtaking cinematography:
Of course, I imagine these are enhanced for the visual effect, but still. You can’t deny the beauty, or the wanderlust it inspires.
This film is great in that it focuses on building a friendship between the outcast, and the popular jock, for more reasons beyond them having a shared sexual preference- which isn’t even relevant to their friendship at all.
Handsome Devil features a queer lead who doesn’t hide it, doesn’t have a centralised coming out story, and even has secondary queer characters- almost a rarity in films and literature, in my opinion; the only time a piece of entertainment has featured more than one queer, in my experience, is so that they can focus on a romance subplot within the coming out story. And whilst this has a (minor) coming out story, and does feature a male homosexual relationship, they are mere secondary to the plot and far from the focus of the film.
This film is humorous (both light and dark, when considering Irish history), promotes the normality of queers in the media as focal characters without them being made a big deal, or covering cliche coming out story lines, and tackles homophobia and the compliancy that oftentimes accompanies it.
In short, I definitely recommend you watch this film. There’s no queer baiting, no forced romance or surreal this-would-never-happen-in-real-life fairy tale, and the soundtrack is incredible (’80s Indie Rock).
Where to Watch:
Currently available on Netflix UK, and to purchase on Amazon Prime Video.
You can watch the trailer on Youtube here.