In many ways this is a traditional ‘coming of age movie.’ It celebrates the time of a young many finding love for the first time. The twist is that he experiences both heterosexual love and homosexual love and it is homosexual love that triumphs. Yet the themes explored are really universal. Just like Brokeback Mountain’s exploration of a failure to grasp love when it was on offer demonstrated the tragic loss that can occur when that offer is not accepted, whether straight or gay, this film considers the tragedy that can still occur when the chance is taken, but ultimately short-lived, again whether gay or straight. In this film the love ends in heartbreak, but is still treasured. Perhaps that is as good as it usually gets.
What I liked about the film was that while it lavishly explored the excitement of youth exploring new ideas, music, art, and in this film above all the sensuality of love, it did not have to lead us to believe that love conquers all in the end as every Hallmark movie does. Sometimes it is good while it lasts, but when it is over it is never a mistake, but it is still over. A chance was seized. When it was over it was simply over, with heartbreak perhaps, but never for nothing. It is still good.
I also like the fact that the older boy (man really) may have appeared to be a shallow cad, and perhaps even turned out to be one, but he was not without empathy and understanding in the end. Shallow maybe, but deep too. Are such contradictions not permitted in matters of the heart?