Raw Love

Raw Love ★★★★★

At this point I might as well add a bunch of asterisks to my never-ending crusade against basic ‘pining after your straight best friend’ stories because, well, I adore this film.

Here’s the thing: we’ve ALL lived through coming out and falling for straight guys, that’s why we keep coming back to those stories; but as a filmmaker, if you’re going to go for that tale-as-old-as-time, you gotta give us something else to go with it, a new take, complex characters, raw honesty, something.

That’s where Amor Crudo comes in.

If Martín Deus has made something abundantly clear with both this short film and his feature debut Mi Mejor Amigo is that, yeah, there is pining and longing after an ambiguous hetero, but the crush itself is never the center of the story. His priority is showing us how the crush transforms the protagonist. The hot straight object of affection is merely a vessel for maturity and growth.

My favorite thing about Amor Crudo is that final reveal that re-contextualizes the entire relationship between the characters. It still makes my head spin and breaks my heart a little bit, even though I’ve seen it several times now. Such is the power of clever editing.

I also like how we get to know the characters and their internal world through action, not so much through dialogue. Sure, at some point there’s a very obvious conversation about “What am I to you?” but the staging and the acting tell us a lot more than the lines. Other brilliant wordless moments include: sniffing the borrowed sweatshirt, and Ivan’s mother realizing what kind of a womanizing little jerk she’s raised.

Overall, an adorable piece in that ever-expanding mess of a puzzle we call the queer cinema canon.

— Let’s just stay a little longer. 
— What for?
— I don’t know. 

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