North Sea Texas | Movie review
A Flemish coming-out-and-of-age story captures the sensation of living in a boring town.
A boy tries on his mother’s clothes. Clad only in a tiara and a sash, he’s interrupted by his mom. She laughs, warmly, and the moment passes. Despite being set at the turn of the ’70s, the Flemish drama North Sea Texas treats the kid’s budding homosexuality as No Big Deal. A few years later, what ails Pim (Jelle Florizoone) is a common problem among teens: His first significant love has jilted him for another. It just so happens his boo is a he, and this he—the confident, flirty neighbor Gino (Mathias Vergels)—has absconded to French-speaking Wallonia to cavort with a hottie who lacks a Y chromosome. The crossing of borders may be too pat a metaphor for Gino’s fluctuating sexuality. Still, working with a muted, vaguely comic naturalism, director Bavo Defurne successfully simulates the grind of trying to live with an agonizing absence in a boring town. The movie is the rare first-love survey that allows for a perspective outside its depresso lead’s head, though the film is diminished by a wish-fulfillment capper.