This isn’t going to be a long review, since I only managed to catch about half of the movie. I was sitting way too close to the screen and—as I should have expected—I started feeling sick and had to leave. Damn. That’s not how I planned to kick off the festival.
So, Romeos. As I remember Amber Dawn, in her introductory speech, described it as more of a farce. And sure, it’s got some farcical elements—who can forget Lukas at the party going to pee, placing his rubber dick on the bath, then running out in a panic on finding out the bath is occupied? or Fabio stepping out of the car stark naked, only covering his crotch with his shoes?—but overall, the story and character exploration are dead serious. We observe, and empathise with, the little details that go into being a pre-op transman: celebrating your 25th shot of testosterone, watching your body hair grow, hiding your breasts under layers of baggy clothes, having to pack your jeans, communicating online with other FTMs. And the bigger problems, like having to live in a girls’ dorm because your official paperwork still says you’re female, being afraid of how your lust object will react if he finds out you’re FTM—sadly, I didn’t stay long enough to see that one resolved.
In addition to getting right up close and personal with Lukas, the direction occasionally takes a step back and lets us look through Ine’s eyes—Lukas’ best friend, who’s known him since high school, is understandably both a bit weirded out and fascinated by her female friend turning into this strange other person, one with muscles and pit hair and thicker eyebrows and chin fuzz. She’s definitely supportive but overall a bit clueless about what he’s really going through.
One thing that stunned me (which maybe shouldn’t have, but there you go) is that Lukas is actually played by a transsexual. At first I wasn’t sure, because the actor totally passed, except for the suggestion of breasts, but I couldn’t tell for sure since he always wore clothes to hide his chest. And then, one scene of him shirtless, and I was all, Holy shit, he’s got boobs. An FTM character played by an actual FTM actor? Who’d have thought? But this is the only casting choice that makes sense. Having a cis man play Lukas would have been a cheat.