Coming of Age with Style
There is something about coming of age stories. Writers and filmmakers love the topic and readers and viewers love to see it. Perhaps this is because we all have had interesting experiences during what could be the hardest period of our lives. “Summer Storm” (Here TV! and Genius Entertainment) is one of the best coming of age movies I have ever seen.
Out on DVD this week, September 5, this German film is an explicit film that deals with sexual awakening among high school kids and how they come to terms with it.
Tod (Robert Stanlober) and Achim (Kostja Ullman) are best friends who love to wrestle naked and masturbate together. Achim has no idea that Tod is interested in him sexually and even when Tod has an erection during play, Achim seems not to realize that what has caused it is sexual desire. When Tod realizes that Achim does not share his feelings, he feels the burden of heterosexuality weighing heavily upon him and he knows that he cannot pretend to be what he is not. When the news that Tod is gay reaches his friends, a barrier comes up between himself and his teammates who have come to camp to perfect their rowing skills.
This is an amazing depiction of the homosexuality of youth. The movie is powerful and emotional. The musical score and outstanding photography make “Summer Storm: a fest for the eyes and ears. The film faithfully depicts “the summer when everything changed”.
I must admit that the idea of watching another movie about something that we have seen so many times made me quite hesitant about seeing this movie. These kinds of movies, with the exception of “A Beautiful Thing”, tend to focus on the young and the beautiful. But as I watched it, I realized that the same old story was being presented in a new way. Even though we can identify with the pain which Tod suffers we are relieved by moments of humor. The love scene on the pier is beautiful and tender and exquisitely filmed; it is pure and innocent and may cause your heat to flutter a bit. And we have all experienced that crush on a straight friend and the fantasies that went along with that hidden desire.
The acting is outstanding and the script provokes thought and remembrance. It is a story of growth and knowing oneself. There is no great insight and the story is quite heavy and “didactic”, even with the heaviness, it is a wonderful movie about that awkward age when we thought that we were alone in the world.