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'Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe' review: A sweet but awkward queer teen love story

Aristotle (Max Pelayo) almost used Aristotle and Dante discovered the secrets of the universe to express his true feelings. For most of the 90 multi-minute run time, he cowered, afraid of being seen, like being ignored Same. When he finally exposed himself, it was a hard-won moment of catharsis, a cool rain swept through after days of unnerving heat.

This also produces a strange irony. Because while Aristotle may have preferred to lock himself up, Aristotle and Dante is a film so eager to be understood from the opening As for it can’t seem to stop going its own way. It tells it when to show and when to whisper, it emphasizes its subject with straightforward dialogue – in its eagerness to explain itself, Aristotle and Dante Denies us too much of the pleasure of unraveling its sweet pleasure for ourselves.

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe

Bottom line A sincere love story that can’t help but be.

Place: Toronto International Film Festival (Explore)9088CAST: Max Pelayo, Reese Gonzales, Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria, Veronica Falcón, Kevin AlejandroDirector and screenwriter: Archie Alberto 96 minute

Based on the critically acclaimed Benjamin Alire Sáenz A YA bestseller, centered on two Mexican-American teenagers – ’80 El Paso. Aristotle is a working-class loner who doesn’t fully understand himself because he basically describes himself as such in the overly long opening voiceover, so he doesn’t fully understand the calm rage and resentment.

On a boring hot summer day, he goes for a dip in the community pool, then surfaces to find newcomer Dante (Res Gonzalez) looking down at him, in the sun It looks very angelic. A place of anxiety and self-doubt in Ali, Dante, the son of a relatively wealthy academic couple (Kevin Alejandro and Eva Longoria), is a sweet and lighthearted man—a veritable manic little The elf dreams of boys until his cute habits go barefoot as much as possible.

The bond they form is strong and direct. Perhaps too much, even for a narrative built on instant connections: writer-director Aiki Alberto pushes them together so insistently that we can barely get to know them as individuals in the first place, or savor the change in interest The exciting process of liking turned into some kind of deep and lasting love. Amid the whirlwind, her young leaders — all relatively newcomers — struggle to find their footing. Pelayo was a champion brooder, but was disappointed by the nuance and depth of the script. And Gonzalez spends the first half of the film trying to construct a reasonable A collection of positive and cute quirks in human size.

To be fair, Aristotle and Dante have a lot of plot to cover.Its narrative goes on for a full year, with Aristotle when Dante moves back in at the end of the summer of ” Stay together in the summer of ’90. During this time, Dante’s presence is reduced to what we hear in voiceover to give Aristotle’s letters chronicle a worrying and sometimes painfully lonely journey of self-discovery. At the same time, Aristotle had much more to do than his best friend from afar. We see As he finds a job, meets a girl, and secretly wants to know what happened to his imprisoned brother that his parents (Eugenio Derbez and Veronica Falcón) simply refuse to talk about.

These The development of their lives feels half-hearted, perhaps because Aristotle and Dante seem to be more interested in who these people are with than they might be apart. The subplots of the ambivalence about his own Mexican identity or Aristotle’s contempt for his (seemingly friendly) classmates develop so casually that I can only assume they are relics from the original material, swept up in translation. Cut to pieces.

But Aristotle and Dante are finally back on track, and Dante returns halfway through. Gonzalez’s Once he gets more emotional engagement, his performance gets stronger, and his chemistry with Pelayo gains interesting new levels as their bond starts with both sides (especially the repressed one). Aristotle) ​​are prepared to face the way development.

For all the mistakes I found Aristotle and Dante inspires more indulgence than vexation. On the one hand, it looks lovely. Photographer Akis Konstantakopoulos is adept at capturing the confident majesty of Texas’ desolate deserts and boundless skies. In contrast to the often clunky dialogue, the beautiful The scenery is a more convincing reflection of the satisfaction the two find in each other. In one of the most striking scenes in the photo, the friends dance dizzily in a sudden downpour, raindrops on them like diamonds Glittering on the windshield of the car.

It was a moment of pure, carefree joy in the lives of two people who longed for more. Reagan-era Texas is character exploratory The worrying context of the behavior, as highlighted by references to anti-LGBTQ hate crimes and background news reports about the AIDS crisis, the boys did not escape unscathed. But Aristotle and Dante treats their fears, anger, and concerns with compassion, as do the staggering number of supporting characters. “I can’t stand looking at the loneliness in you,” Aristotle says from a he never thought Hear from someone who will confide, when he When he spoke out the pain, he looked as if he had lifted a burden he was not aware of

Indeed, Aristotle and Dante ‘s shortcomings seem to stem largely from the same tenderness. That makes its flaws easy to forgive, or at least easy to forgive: if it jumps too fast to explain itself, it’s because a parent is desperate to protect her child from a judgmental or unforgiving world. But a shield of protection is a shield of cover. Aristotle and Dante has a touch of beauty and its story contains more potential. If it’s allowed space to really shine.

90 Full credits

Venue: Toronto International Film Festival (Explore) Production Company: Big Swing Productions, 3pas Studios, Limelight
Actors : Max Pelayo, Reese Gonzalez, Eugenio Debez, Eva Longoria, Veronica Falcon, Kevin Alejandro
Director and screenwriter: Aiki Alberto Based on the novel: Benjamin Alire Sains 90Producers: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Valerie Stadler, Dylan Sellers, Chris Parker, Ben Odell, Eugenio Derbez
Executive Producers: Aitch Alberto, Kyra Sedgwick, Meredith Bagby, David Boies, Zack Schiller 90Photographer: Akis Konstantakopoulos
Production Designer: Denise Hudson96 Editors: Harry Yoon, Stefanie Visser Original Song: Isabella Summers Sales: United Talent Agency (UTA)
96 minute

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