Miami International Film Festival: Review of Enrique Buchichio's Leo's Room
Leo can't deliver the goods to his girlfriend of six months. And there's a good reason - he's gay. But this is Catholic Uruguay, and men don't just go around kissing other men in public.
In Leo's Room (El Cuarto de Leo), the title character, played by puppy-eyed Martín Rodríguez, is fed up with living a lie. We meet him as he begins to dabble in homosexuality, cruising Internet chat rooms and meeting with an avuncular psychotherapist. He ultimately finds a boyfriend but refuses to be seen with him in public. Further complicating things is a serendipitous run-in with childhood friend Caro, played by Cecilia Cósero. Leo develops a new relationship with her but is unsure how women now fit into his life; it's a secondary narrative that feels not only undeveloped but unnecessary. In the end, the film can't decide which story to follow.
Written and directed by Uruguayan newcomer Enrique Buchichio, who won a
Global Film Initiative grant in 2006, this is a 90-minute mediation on
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a young man's coming to terms with his homosexuality. Ho-hum. Most of
the scenes include Leo in his rented bedroom, wringing his hands and
trying to figure things out. His extended hesitation requires patience;
it's a character flaw that's difficult to tolerate in real life and
becomes even more unappealing when projected up on the big screen.
This film's a South American treatment of mumblecore, small-budget,
indie film in which good-looking twenty-somethings bemoan their
inability to make decisions while listening to a lot of emo music;
think Andrew Bujalski's 2002 Funny Ha Ha or Joe Swanberg's 2007 Hannah Takes the Stairs.
March 8 at 9:15 p.m. and March 9 at 9:30 p.m. Regal South Beach, 1100 Lincoln Road; 305-674-6766.
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