For contemporary audiences, the Argentine import “The Blonde One” may feel, at least in attitude, a tad retro. Still, if you believe that one’s approach to hissexuality and romantic inclinations remains something personal, idiosyncratic and complex, target viewers should find much to admire and relate to in this tender, hypnotic drama.
Gabriel or “Gabo” (Gastón Re) and Juan (Alfonso Barón) are coworkers and new roommates who, after many furtive — and not so furtive — glances become cohabitants with benefits. Soon, however, the quiet (and, yes, blond) Gabo, a soulful, discreetly gay-identifying widower with a sweet young daughter, falls for the more untethered, apparently bisexual Juan, who, suffice to say, likes to keep his options open. (“Don’t make me explain myself like you were my girlfriend,” Juan warns the needier Gabo in a rare moment of verbal candor.)
How Gabo works his way through his deepening love — and perhaps misplaced expectations — for the enticing if often elusive Juan forms the heart of writer-director Marco Berger’s stirring, sexy film. It’s one that, largely to its credit, relies more on heartfelt gazes (the eyes on these guys!), observations and internalized emotion than on deep-dive dialogue or psychological deconstruction.
Although deliberately paced and a bit repetitive, the movie contains many lovely subtleties and two superb, swoony lead turns that keep us invested.
Running time: 1 hour, 51 minutes
Playing: Starts Sept. 6, Laemmle Royal Theatre, West Los Angeles