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Just Friends

The Netherlands, Dutch, 80 mins

Original Title

Gewoon Vrienden
  • Director: Ellen Smit
  • Writer: Henk Burger
  • Producer: Roen Kiewik; Denis Wigman; Marijn Wigman

CGiii Comment

This is a fairly straight forward boy-gets-boy, boy-loses-boy...will boy-get-boy back? Or, does he want boy back?!?

Apart from a major wardrobe malfunction [everyone's clothes are horrible], this is a sweet, harmless little film that needed a bit more grit...and, a bit more thought.

For example...two very fit and muscular [gay] boys are in a diner, a puny little [homophobic] munchkin starts calling them 'faggot' [as if]...the bigger of the 'beauties' goes to 'sort' it out which he does - easily - without breaking a sweat...however, the other 'beauty' runs off! How to kill a relationship stone dead!

Now...these 'boys' are in their mid-20s and still live with their [racist] mothers...it's that old: He's not good enough for you, you could do better, find someone of your own kind...sort of thing! But...neither of these [hideous and badly-acted] mothers are challenged...which is a shame...because, they neither [seem] to have a problem with homosexuality...it's the colour of the skin that matters! Wow...that's the story...sadly, neglected.

There are drone shots aplenty. There are glaring mistakes...and, there are moments when nothing happens. Director, Ellen Smit needs to raise her game if she wants to break free from those restricting TV shackles...she and the writer had the opportunity to make a substantial film about race and homosexuality...but, alas, chose to do a tired old 'Romeo & Romeo' instead.

Sweet...but, innocuous.


The(ir) Blurb...

To escape the wild Amsterdam nightlife, free-spirited Yad returns to his intellectual Syrian parents in Almere. Yad is looking for temporary work and ends up working in domestic care services for Ans, a talkative elderly woman. When her beloved and muscular grandson Joris drops by, she immediately notices that the boys are attracted to each other. Even though they differ in character and background, a summer romance soon arises, although their parents have conflicting ideas about heritage and class. A sweet and positive romantic comedy where being gay is not the ‘problem’.

Om te ontsnappen aan het wilde Amsterdamse nachtleven keert de vrijgevochten Yad terug naar zijn intellectuele Syrische ouders in Almere. Als hij stopt met zijn opgedrongen rechtenstudie krijgt hij een baantje: thuishulp bij de gezellige Amsterdamse Ans. Wanneer haar geliefde kleinzoon Joris langskomt, ziet ze meteen dat de jongens elkaar meer dan leuk vinden. Joris werkt vooral aan de buitenkant; hij pompt zich dagelijks op en heeft daardoor een indrukwekkend gespierd lijf. In het uiten van zijn gevoelens is hij minder bedreven. Toch ontstaat er al snel een zomer romance, maar de wederzijdse ouders hebben heel andere ideeën over afkomst en klasseverschil.

Romantisch en komisch, er wordt luchtig gespeeld met stereotypen en het homo-zijn van de hoofdpersonen is voor de verandering eens niet het probleem.
Met twee aan elkaar gewaagde en sexy hoofdrolspelers; Majd Mardo en Josha Stradowski en een heerlijk schmierende Tanja Jess als een aan alcohol en botox verslaafde moeder.

Cast & Characters

Jenny Arean as Ans;
Tanja Jess as Simone;
Majd Mardo as Yad;
Josha Stradowski as Joris

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