Boy Meets Boy ***
Starring: Matthew James Morrison, Alexandros Koutsoulis
Director: Daniel Sanchez Lopez
Richard Linklater has a lot to answer for. Ever since his seminal Before Sunrise, a slew of “romance to a deadline” movies have followed in its footsteps, with Queer Cinema particularly capitalising on its winning formula. And, to be fair, films like Weekend, Room In Rome and Theo & Hugo have absolutely justified this. New German film Boy Meets Boy from director Daniel Sanchez Lopez is the latest addition to this canon.
British tourist Harry (Morrison) has been in a club in Berlin for 48 hours. He only has a few hours before his plane leaves when he meets dancer Johannes (Koutsoulis), who offers to print his boarding pass for him. They leave the club together and embark on a journey of discovery, wandering across the city and encountering all sorts of characters along the way as they come down from their highs and get to know each other.
Much of the film is a series of conversations between the pair. Harry is very liberal, very woke and very uninhibited, whereas Johannes is very artistic, reactionary and far more traditional. Their disparate stand-points, nationalities and backgrounds create enough difference in opinion to create conflict and serve as a catalyst for in-depth discussion. And for the most part, their conversation is interesting. The film is short enough for the formula not to feel stale, with a revelation in the final act giving a reinvigorating twist to the narrative.
For fans of mumblecore, this is a pretty effective romance. Two believable performances anchor the film and the director has assembled a hyper-real depiction of the morning after the night before. It certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel, however. And where Before Sunrise was also a love letter to Vienna, Theo & Hugo to Paris and Room In Rome to (unsurprisingly) Rome, does Boy Meets Boy manage to smear Vaseline over the lens for Berlin? Unfortunately not. The concrete tower blocks feel like they could be anywhere in the world.
The depth of feeling between the two doesn’t quite set our hearts racing enough to make us root for them as much as we should. Weekend succeeded so well with this format by convincing us that it was wholly unjust for its romantic leads to only be together for one weekend. Unfortunately, Boy Meets Boy feels, looks and smells like a holiday hook-up and despite all the director’s attempts otherwise, it ends up feeling like exactly that. You’ll pass an enjoyable hour and a quarter with this film, but like most mumblecore, it is what it is and nothing more.
UK Release: 6th September on demand and DVD, released by Peccadillo Pictures