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
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