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Review of Wild Reeds

In many ways, this is a fairly typical, gay-themed coming of age story.  There are attractive teenage actors.  There is the common close friendship between a girl and a gay boy.  There is the gradual recognition and labeling of same-sex sexual orientation.

What sets this tender film apart, even from most European films of the sub-genre, is that there is no remarkable hysteria.  The characters are thoroughly normal, yet completely captivating.  Director Techine accomplishes this with superb use of subtle misc en scene and montage to illuminate the three likable main characters.

All of the performances are superb.  Gael Morel (Francois), Stephane Rideau (Serge) and Elodie Bouchez (Maite) always seem to be in the moment without any effort of “acting.”  The minor characters are equally convincing.

A particularly poignant scene involve Francois seeking guidance from an older homosexual shopkeeper.  As unfortunately often happens in gay culture, the older potential role model offers no advice to the young man.  This lack of communication, however, has a clear emotional impact on both, something that is reflected in their subtle facial expressions.

It is that subtlety that makes Wild Reeds stand so far above the many other similar films.

wild reeds dvd

Genre: Coming of age drama with gay character

Director: André Téchiné

Language: English sub-titles

Availability:  DVD

99Gay-Men.us Rating: ****

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