In Boy Meets Boy, Harry – an Englishman on a short solo break to Berlin – meets Johannes, a Berlin native, and following a bout of hook-up sex, the pair kill the 15 hours prior to Harry’s flight home by wandering around the German capital talking about life, love and what it means to be gay in the modern world.
Boy Meets Boy contains very little plot but this lack of a fleshed-out narrative arc doesn’t detract from what is essentially a 75 minute conversation about the gay condition and whether today’s anything goes, permissive societal norms make us any happier: Harry has never had sex with anyone more than once and talks of such post-coital shame that he sometimes feels that “I want to cut my dick off” while Johannes, who is desperate for a loving relationship just like his parents’, is not entirely happy being in an open relationship, something that is clearly his partner’s idea rather than his own.
In one short but telling scene we witness a hint of racism when Johannes can hardly believe that Harry, who is black, is a doctor. The question is left open: perhaps Johannes’ surprise is not because Harry is black but simply because one might not expect a doctor to be cruising the city on the quest for hook ups, yet the viewer is left with the uncomfortable feeling that there is an underlying assumption that a young black man is far more likely to be in a menial occupation rather than be a skilled medical professional.
Both leads – Matthew J Morrison as Harry and Alexis Koutsoulis as Johannes – get to grips with the film’s naturalistic, documentary style, with aplomb, their on-the-moneyperformances accentuated by the hand-held camera used in almost every scene. In fact, the style is so conversational and naturalistic that I have no idea how much, if any, of the dialogue was improvised.
Boy Meets Boy asks some interesting questions, not least whether sexual freedom leads to true contentment, but it doesn’t try to answer them. Instead, the characters’ introspection makes us question our own life choices and, in so doing, delivers a well-crafted, thought-provoking piece which is well worth a watch.
Boy Meets Boy is available to stream on demand from Peccadillo Pictures.
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