For years, Strand Releasing has been responsible for bringing some of the best and worst gay-themed films to U.S. theaters. Though there isn’t a single queer to be found in Shemi Zarhin’s Israeli Afterschool Special (well, I’m not so sure about Shlomi’s older brother), Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi is still likely to strike a chord with gay audiences. Because having a gay character in a film is equal to but certainly not less than having a cast of straight hotties, this unbearably sweet dramedy about an Israeli teen who spends more time fixing his family’s troubles than he does hitting the books is liable to get by on the good looks of its male cast. Though Shlomi (Oshri Cohen) is constantly referred to as a “special boy,” it’s not that closet he emerges from. The wide-eyed teen is a little Jewish angel who listens patiently to his grandfather’s war stories, mediates family melodramas, and makes dessert for everyone once the dust has settled. He’s so sweet that when he tries to convince his girlfriend to “upgrade” their relationship, you almost want to pinch him on the cheeks. Ostensibly because he expends more energy on his family than he does on himself, the would-be martyr doesn’t realize that the brain in his head is really an untapped calculator. When the school principal discovers that Shlomi can divide 1,061,384 by four in a matter of seconds, he comes to the conclusion that the boy is trying to fool everyone with his brain and subsequently convinces him that he’s allowed his own me-time. “You can’t keep living other people’s lives,” someone tells him, and with that the boy “finds his mirror,” gets the girl of his dreams, and teaches his family self-sustenance and goes off to take the world by storm. You go girl!
- Strand Releasing
- 94 min
- Shemi Zarhin
- Shemi Zarhin
- Oshri Cohen, Arieh Elias, Esti Zakheim, Ava Steinovitz, Yigal Naor, Albert Iluz, Rotem Abuhab, Assi Cohen, Rotem Nissmo, Nisso Keavia, Hilla Sarion
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