FILM REVIEW: Just Friends

Brian Butler May 23, 2019

As the summer approaches, if you want a feel-good gay romance film, you could do worse than look up Nuts and Bolts Films 80 minute Just Friends.

MADE in Dutch with English sub-titles, it’s a fairly predictable tale of boy meets boy; boy falls in love with boy; boy falls out of love with boy; parents on both sides object to the romance; boys fall back into love – happy ending.

And that’s pretty much all you need to know. Majd Mardo is Yad, a straggly-haired medical school dropout, who is a disappointment to his Syrian refugee parents. Joris, played by Josha Stradowski is a shaven-headed moody, cautious innocent son of a dead architect and very rich, alcoholic mother, who thinks more of her regular cosmetic surgery than she does of her little lost boy.

A chance meeting leads to a tentative series of liaisons and the inevitable sexual experimentation in amongst the surfing club sailboards.

But parental pressures and Yad’s reluctance to face up to his gayness lead the couple to part. But as in all good dramas, there’s a matchmaker in the shape of Joris’s feisty Jewish grandma, who also just happens to have Yad as her cleaner/carer.

And so the tale unfolds as a story of prejudice of various kinds – the haters in the diner who start a fight with Joris when he and Yad hold hands and the prejudice of Joris’s mother against the refugees in this small Dutch hamlet.

Beautifully filmed against a constant backdrop of wind turbines and a mellow romantic music backing, it’s worth a view, even if it is just a little bit too good to be true.

Just Friends is out now on dvd and on video on demand from June 3.

Review by Brian Butler