Romeos (2011)

[identities.]

Romeos is Sabine Bernardi‘s first film, starring Rick Okon, Maximilian Befort and Liv Lisa Fries.

Plot:
Lukas (Rick Okon) is on his way transitioning from female to male and part of this is that he does his voluntary year (the alternative to the obligatory military service in Germany), where he catches up with his best friend since childhood, Ine (Liv Lisa Fries). Through Ine, he meets Fabio (Maximilian Befort), gorgeous gay Italian playboy. Fabio and Lukas hit it off, only that Fabio doesn’t know that Lukas started out his life with female body parts.

Romeos is sweet, well-acted and for people who are not familiar with transexuality, it’s a good start into the subject. But with the didactic approach the film risks boring the more knowledgable audience and despite the honest emotions portrayed, this does happen.

Romeos is a well-meaning film that seems mostly made to introduce people to the subject of transsexuality. Which means that for someone who already knows their way around the basic concept, it doesn’t provide much insight. Of course, not every film makes you learn new things but the really good ones do and so Romeos remains firmly in the category of “nice but not great” for me.

Sadly enough when I left the cinema, I overheard a woman describing the film to her friend, who she met outside the cinema. And not once did she manage to call Lukas “he”, it was always “she-well-now-he-I-guess-how-awkward” or simply “she”. So I probably shouldn’t complain – we obviously need more beginner movies.

The story is rather predictable, but it’s nicely done and Bernardini and her cast captured the emotions of their characters wonderfully. It’s easy to get attached to them.

Rick Okon and Maximilian Befort have good chemistry together and are good actors, though especially Maximilian Befort impressed me a lot. Since he’s so pretty, you don’t trust him to have talent – but he does. Also Liv Lisa Fries was really good. But all of them are overshadowed by Julia Schäfle, who has a five minute part as Fabio’s “beard” and is the epitome of the stupid blonde and is incredibly funny doing it.

Summarising: Very watchable and a good introduction.

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