Being 17

Being 17 ★★★★½

Damien and Thomas are two solitary teenagers whose lives intertwined unexpectedly and establish a relationship that goes from violent animosity to intense desire. Unable to put their feelings and thoughts into words, they provoke each other and fall into a turmoil of mixed emotions, but finally give in. It's a story told in three chapters about sexual awakening and the contradictions of being a young gay man coming to terms with who you are; it's also a story of the painful transition into adulthood.

The two leads give outstanding performances of great depth; Kacey Mottet Klein perfectly captures the intensity and eagerness of Damien, while Corentin Fila offers a nuanced turn as the conflicted Thomas. The richness and complexity of the characters is undoubtedly related to Céline Sciamma, her sensibility when approaching sexual identity was an important contribution to the screenplay. Additionally, Sandrine Kiberlain plays such a gentle and warm character; the advice she gives Damien about confidence is something that deeply resonated within me.

The simplicity of the story, the naturalistic approach and Téchiné's sublime look make Quand on a 17 ans a compelling coming of age.

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