Thursday, May 9th, 2024

Queerguru’s Ris Fatah reviews SUNFLOWER a tough coming-of-age, coming-out drama from Australia

Australia’s rough, macho culture is examined from a queer perspective in Sunflower, a tough coming-of-age, coming-out drama set in the suburbs of Melbourne. Director/writer Gabriel Carrubba’s debut introduces us to Leo (Liam Mollica), a handsome, strapping seventeen-year-old high school student. His home is a working-class Greek-Italian household with his truck driver dad (Sal Galofaro), mum (Diana Ferreira) and younger brother. His best friend Boof (Luke J Morgan) is equally rough and ready. Leo and Boof have a lot of fun goofing around together. Leo is, however, gay and, despite enjoying mutual jerk-off sessions with the athletic Boof whilst talking about girls, can’t find an outlet in his oppressively hetero-normative life to express his sexuality. The hot guys in his school’s testosterone-fuelled locker room are so close to him, yet so far away. Matters reach a head when Leo is under pressure to sleep with his supposed girlfriend Monique (Olivia Fildes) at a party at her home. With Monique and both his and her friends pressuring Leo to have sex with her, Leo doesn’t know where to turn.

Sunflower treads a fairly well-trodden path in terms of teenage coming-out stories. It’s a tale that queers all over the world can relate to though. Strong casting, a good plot and an authentic-feeling blue-collar Australian setting add to the mix. Although a new film, there is an air of the 1990s about Sunflower, not in a bad way. Parts of the film are slow-moving, but life for seventeen-year-olds is often slow-moving, so this adds to the realism. The dialogue is mildly lacklustre at times, although I guess this reflects the language of seventeen-year-olds. Mollica and Morgan give strong performances as does Daniel Halmarick, who plays Tom, a fellow queer high school student. Carrubba accurately captures the angst of trying to realise your sexuality in a controlling, suburban arena devoid of allies. There’s a fine balance of darkness and light, with the generic queer themes complemented by the statement on toxic Aussie machismo. Queer drama is riding high at the moment with such gems as Baby Reindeer, Saltburn and All of Us Strangers. This means the bar for queer film-making is elevated, leaving less room for anything less than perfect. Nevertheless, this is honest, enjoyable viewing.



Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant  (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah

Posted by queerguru  at  07:53

Genres:  coming of age, coming out, international

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow queerguru

Search This Blog

View queertiques By: