Meet Pim, the only child of a single mother living in a small town in Belgium. As a young boy, he spent much of his time dressing up in his mother’s clothes and performing for an imaginary audience. At fifteen Pim continues to be very withdrawn, loves to draw and collect mementos of his mother and Gino, the cool and confident neighbour’s boy with whom he has a secret relationship. But all good things must come to an end, and over the next couple of years Pim must give up his fantasies and start dealing with the real world.
North Sea, Texas is quiet and reflective, slow-paced and equally full of gorgeous North Sea scenery and bittersweet moments. Interestingly for a queer coming-of-age movie, it does not involve coming out and finding your first love. Pim already had that, and is forced to grow up when the older Gino decides their relationship was just a childish phase and takes up with a girl. He has to grow up still further when his mother decides to run off with a suave gypsy carny who Pim also seemed to have a thing for.
Pim is left only with Sabrina, Gino’s younger sister; she had a crush on Pim but remained friends after learning about his relationship with her brother. In the end Gino does comes back, but for how long? Will he and Pim restart their relationship?
I’m actually conflicted over whether to label this film “bittersweet” or “depressing”, because there’s a lot more bitter than sweet. Is this what growing up means, that either you leave or people leave you—dying, dumping you for a French girl, or running off with the gypsy with the creepy moustache? Can you ever forge a permanent connection?
Pim shows great strength and maturity, and manages to get on with his life, but it seems to me life should be more than just enduring grief and pain. Pim outgrew his dressing-up dreams but still needs to find new ones. I hope he does, soon.