It’s been 10 years since Eytan Fox’s Yossi & Jagger (a film which I am remiss to say I have not yet seen despite being a big Fox fan), and we find our hero Yossi lost. He’s still grief-stricken from losing his boyfriend (10 years earlier) and has major body image issues (he definitely qualifies as a bear in the gay community). But Yossi is too afraid to come out to anyone at work (he’s a cardiologist) and is thus forced to suffer through awkward heterosexual moments like a flirtatious girl nurse and a weird bar bathroom threeway.
However, when his dead lover’s mother ends up as one of his patients, he seeks her and her husband out and confesses his feelings for their son. It makes for a very awkward scene, but I can see that there is relief in Yossi from getting this off his chest. And, once he’s become somewhat unburdened (lets not forget the body image issue—he’s too afraid to even get a massage), he gives a ride to a group of stranded young soldiers, who no doubt remind him of his past in the army. From there is becomes it an unsteady journey for Yossi who learns to loosen up and love himself (and maybe find love in return).
The acting in the film is terrific, and I could easily relate with Yossi (who hasn’t had body issues?). And when he meets young soldier Tom (who has major Tom-Hardy lips) I couldn’t help but root for them to get together. I’m actually amazed at how much of Yossi’s shit Tom puts up with. But watching actor Ohad Knoller’s journey as Yossi was spectacular. His portrayal of this confused and embarrassed gay man is one that almost any gay man could sympathize with.
Eytan Fox is a superb filmmaker (I love Walk on Water), and this is definitely a film worth checking out (as long as you can handle subtitles) if you’re close to the TriBeCa Film Festival.