Manuel (Martín Miller) spends his time playing in a rock band with his friends, including his best friend since childhood Felipe (Teo Inama Chiabrando). When he and his girlfriend Azul (Azul Mazzeo) discussing taking things to the next step in their relationship, Manuel hesitates and comes to realise that he has deeper feelings for Felipe than he’s allowed himself to acknowledge. Pulled between expectations and his heart, Manuel explores his feelings with no idea if they might be reciprocated or the implication of what that means for his sexuality.
‘Sublime’ comes from writer and director Mariano Biasin and it’s a classic coming-of-age story that centres around a young boy trying to figure out his sexuality. Like all young boys who suspect they might be gay, Manuel tries to push his feelings deep down and ignore them, using his relationship with Azul as a distraction. Of course, when that relationship veers on the edge of turning sexual, Manuel isn’t sure that he wants to take that next step and that causes him to look inward at the reason why.
Alongside his best friend Felipe, Manuel spends his free time performing in a rock band and secretly hoping that Felipe may reciprocate his feelings. As he battles to come to terms with how he feels, Manuel’s secret is threatened to be outed by his talking in his sleep which his little sister overhears. As Manuel tries to contain the enormity of his self-discovery, it leads him to act out and behave in a way that’s unusual for him, making those around him question what’s going on.
Coming-of-age films, particularly in gay cinema, are plentiful and having seen so many of them over the years, anything new to the sub-genre needs to do something truly special to stand out. While ‘Sublime’ has its moments, and definitely has some charm, the film doesn’t really break any new ground. Instead, it re-treads over the path that many before have taken and the trope of a young boy falling for his best friend is pushed to the fore. The hook here presumably is whether or not Felipe is interested in Manuel in a way that goes beyond friendship.
Martín Miller is the strongest performer among the cast. He does some good work and he’s believable as a young boy coming to terms with his sexuality. Teo Inama Chiabrando as Felipe is a little too two-dimensional for the audience to get on board with and it’s hard to understand what Manuel finds so special about him. The two actors manage to muster a little chemistry but not enough to mask the inevitable conclusion of the film.
The film features several featurettes that take you behind-the-scenes of the film and the characters. Director and writer Biasin discusses the film in ‘Introducing Mariano’ while the characters and the film’s music are explored across the other featurettes. There’s also an audio commentary with Mariano Baisin and Martín Miller that is exclusive to the Peccadillo Pod release.
‘Sublime’ is a solid enough film even if it rehashes tropes and stories we’ve seen a hundred times before. While it’s important to make films like this for young audiences who may be able to identify with Manuel, it’s unfortunately a little too ponderous and meandering to really hit the mark. Perhaps I’ve grown too old and cynical when it comes to these kinds of tales but for me, ‘Sublime’ sadly doesn’t live up to its title.
Cast: Martín Miller, Teo Inama Chiabrando, Azul Mazzeo, Joaquín Arana Director: Mariano Biasin Writer: Mariano Biasin Certificate: 12 Duration: 100 mins Released by: Peccadillo Pictures Release date: 6th February 2023 Buy ‘Sublime’ now
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