"Juste une question d'amour" both opens and closes with a dizzying shot of whirling trees seen through the joyful, playful eyes of Laurent, the main character. The first scene is simulated joy, the last the real thing. In between we have a gem of a film about love, both familial and romantic, honesty, and the product of their fusion, joy.
Laurent is a closeted undergraduate living in a provincial French town. When he falls in love, he is forced to confront the conflict between his sexuality and the expectations of his socially conservative family. This by now is a well-used plot. But Laurent is given sufficient back story, and there are enough unexpected wrinkles in the resolution to keep the film from being preachy or repetitive.
Christian Faure made this film for French television, as he did another outstanding film, "Un amour à taire" (2006). Such is the difference between European and North American standards, that both of these TV films far surpass most of what comes out of the American film factories for cinematic release. The acting in "Juste une question d'amour" is excellent, as are the score and the cinematography. Everyone I've talked to about this film has remarked how refreshing it is to see 'real' people on the screen -- with somewhat crooked teeth and slightly blemished skin, for example. All that I could see to mark this as a television film is its brevity (88 minutes) and some resulting plot compression that I noticed in a too-frequent reliance on well-timed telephone calls to move the story along.
With a well-written script and actors of such ability, Faure believably creates the tensions that are familiar to many gays and lesbians and their families. But you don't need to be gay or lesbian to enjoy this film. Love and honesty have universal appeal, and everyone should be able to rejoice as they make the world spin round in this film.
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I wasn't even halfway through this film when I realized that it would probably become one of my favorite movies. An honest and realistic romance, this film features believable characters facing difficult and momentous changes to their lives. Although the storyline is very traditional, I felt a strong connection to the characters and was drawn in right through to the end. I'm expect that this is a film I will watch several times over.
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183 of 187 people found the following review helpful
A LOVE STORYMay 23 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
It has been said by more than a few individuals that there just are not very many films that are being made that could be considered realistic "gay love stories". "Just a Question of Love" is the exception. It is a very realistic gay LOVE STORY. Although the film is in French (with, of course, subtitles), the story and/or message can be translated to apply to any country where gay people fall in love and suffer the ramifications thereof. Laurent a young agricultural student lives in great fear of his parents finding out that he is a gay. However he has the "ideal alibi" because he shares an apartment with his best friend who happens to be a very attractive young women that is comfortable with the knowledge that Laurent is gay (we the audience, however, get the strong feeling she is or has been in love with Laurent and would prefer him straight; nevertheless, she accepts him as he is and enjoys him as a friend). Outwardly, and especially, to Laurent's parents, Laurent and his roommate are distend to get married and they make the "perfect couple" at least it keeps his parent off his back and he's free to play with the boys. Inter Cedric-a handsome tutor to Laurent. The two men fall madly in love with each other. Cedric is very comfortable with his homosexuality and not willing to live a "lie". His mother is also comfortable with her son's homosexuality (or at least accepting because she loves her son). The closet crumbles in a surprising way (no they are not caught "doing it!"). All involved have to face some issues (both hidden and bubbling just below the surface). All of the actors are very believable in their roles giving wonderful performances. The film is beautiful to watch with a great soundtrack. If you want to see a very believable gay love story, buy this film
(By the way, there is a marvelous water fight scene between the two lovers that I adore. It, to me, expresses their love so intently without a word being spoken. Plus it is hysterical--I loved it)
94 of 96 people found the following review helpful
Straight or Gay Relationships: Just a Question of LoveMay 24 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
'Juste une question d'amour' is a small film made for French TV that is one of the most sensitive, unbiased examinations of how the 'coming out' of gay men impacts not only the one who bravely steps forward but also his friends both male and female and his family. So often films such as this fall under the title 'Queer Cinema' and that is as unfair to the audience as it is to the writer and director of the film. This film is meant for the general public and should it receive higher profile in publicity, many longstanding prejudices would at least have the chance to be questioned by both gays and straights.
Laurent (Cyrille Thouvenin) lives with his parents Jeanne (Danièle Denie) and Pierre (Idwig Stephane) behind the family Pharmacy. Laurent is secretly gay though he lives with his best girlfriend Carole (Caroline Veyt) who adores him and wholly accepts his sexuality and is content to serve as a 'front' for Laurent's closeted role with his parents. He is not doing well studying agriculture, primarily due to the fact the his close cousin Marc died recently and had been disowned by his aunt and uncle when he announced he was gay. Laurent can only see that he must keep his secret so that his parents (whom he loves deeply) will not be 'injured' by his admitting his sexuality. His marks in school are so poor that he is instructed to do an internship in field agriculture to raise his academic standing. His assigned tutor is Cédric (Stéphan Guérin-Tillié) who lives an openly gay life with his warmly understanding and loving mother Emma (Eva Darlan) in an idyllic garden setting that also serves as Cédric's agricultural research lab.
Though instantly attracted to each other, Laurent maintains his closeted life until Cédric reveals his affection: the two become happy, passionate lovers. All goes well until Cédric insists that Laurent be in an open relationship, a state that would demand that Laurent inform his parents of his preferences. Laurent, fearful that his parents would disown him as his cousin was treated, flees and it is only after Cédric's mother Emma, a woman who loves the fact that her son is in a healthy relationship and longs for Laurent to allow his parents to love him for who truly he is, takes it upon herself to confront Laurent's parents with the truth. The manner in which this initial trauma affects each of the characters forms the platform for the resolution of the story.
This is a brave film, very intelligent and sensitive and informative, and is made all the better by the excellent cast. Each actor gives characterizations that are completely credible and three-dimensional: none of the too familiar stereotypes are here. It is to the credit of director Christian Faure and his co-writer Annick Larboulette that JUST A QUESTION OF LOVE succeeds on every level. This is one of the most quietly powerful stories about same sex challenges to be addressed on the screen. Highly Recommended for ALL audiences. In French with English subtitles. Grady Harp, May 05
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
These 2 guys fall in love....and................June 7 2005
JUST A REVIEWER2
- Published on Amazon.com
.......you're there, right there, for every tumultuous and fun-loving moment of it!
(1) WOW!!......and DOUBLEWOW!! You've just got to hand it to the French. In this reviewer's opinion only they, thus far in "gay filmdom," seem to have been truly capturing that "certain naturalness" all of us look for in a male couple's touching, kissing and relating to one another. All of you know what it is; it's a "something" which American directors have merely come close to achieving, perhaps in such films** as C. Jay Cox's "Latter Days" and Julie Davis's "All Over the Guy." All this leads to a couple of big questions: Why does it seem, in practically all American gay films, that the act of a kiss most often comes across as "just a task" which has to be accomplished (and in front of the camera to boot---isn't that so embarrassing!) And what about even the simplest passing touch between partners in a scene? Why would a US actor, in preparing for a gay role, never think of doing something as small but meaningful as that? Whatever the answer, our actors mostly just don't (and American directors do not seem to take the time to ensure that they do, or even to "instruct" them on kissing halfway decently, for that matter). If our directors are going to spend all that money and effort, why not do it right? In summing up this lead-in, it has to be again asked: why is it so natural and easy for the French? (see, also, that 1997 French title, "The Man I Love")(or France's 2000 "Come Undone" with its beach-side copulation scene).
(2) Moving on now, more directly into this film, it's got to be said that these 2 French actors have Chemistry (that's spelled with a capital "C"......and, well, you just gotta make the "H", the "E", the "M" and all the rest of 'em, capital letters, too). Plus, as actors, these guys are not afraid to express their feelings by making that extra gesture of a passing touch or hand-on-arm (as noted above, how often we don't see that from American actors). There's a very striking feeling, projected by this film, that really makes you have to wonder: if these guys weren't already in love prior to filming, then surely mustn't they have become so during the process.......at least that's the feeling which their performances so vividly project to the audience. It's what we're left with after watching this film: THAT WAS REALLY LOVE! (What greater mark of success could be asked for, or achieved, in setting a gay romance on film?)
(3) One other important point on their performances: while the actors portraying Laurent and Cedric can be so explosive in their expressiveness toward each other, they also make themselves such fun to be with (as a viewer you feel as if you're right there, actually sharing their fun, excitement and joy in discovering sex and love with each other). Make note of these things as you watch, and see if your pulse-rate doesn't go way up on more than one occasion......as well as your "chuckle-bone" getting a good workout. What it all boils down to is simply that seeing and experiencing their strongly expressed feelings for each other is worth a 1000 times the price of admission.
As a little bit of a postscript, this reviewer just has to add: Rarely has a movie title been more fitting and meaningful than this one's, especially as it is explained and demonstrated in the heartrending denouement which takes place between father and son in the final moments of the film. "Really," it tells us, "after everything else has come, been considered, and gone, all that's left and important is......just a question of love!"
SCENES YA GOTTA WATCH FOR:
--Don't miss this couple's first one-on-one in the agricultural lab which is to be their joint workplace: it's a first-meeting-and-feeling-each-other-out scene in which sparks fly---the tension between them fairly crackles (watch the eyes; watch the eyes).
--And you should definitely note: this pair's first post-coital scene is so full of satisfaction and obvious feelings for one another (what such heterosexual scene of the past could top it?) that those feelings practically jump off the screen. It's only topped, moments later, during a scene in which "Mom" walks in on the pair, unannounced----it's beyond priceless.
--Even more telling is the "water-fight" scene: you've never seen such fun and joy over being together expressed by a gay couple in any previous movie (watch the eyes; watch the eyes). No wonder this scene leads to the one which it does.
**David Moreton's 1998 "Edge of Seventeen" set an earlier standard for more realistic love-making
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
What Is It With The French...June 5 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
...that they always seem to make gay films that rise above just about everything Hollywood and the Indies here in the US can make?
Don't get me wrong. There have been some good films released here...Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss, Trick, Latter Day, and Saved amoung them, but a lot of them just can't seem to match the sincerity and feeling that Wild Reeds, The Man I Love, Come Undone, and this film (just to name a few) seem to have.
Not that the story is anything new...closeted gay guy falls in love with very out gay guy and is faced with losing him if he doesn't come out to his very homophobic family. This same story has been done many times, on both sides of the Atlantic. It's just that this one is dealt with with no apologies. It is deeply romantic and believeable, and at the end you realize you cared about the characters and what ultimately happens to them.
Laurent is a college student who lives with his best friend, Carole, who everyone thinks is his girlfriend. This suit him fine. It's not that he is ashamed of being gay. A lot of people know...just not his family. It seems his cousin came out a while back and was disowned. He subsequently died alone(though not of AIDS, as his family assumes), and Laurent does not want this to happen to him. By staying in the closet he is sparing himself and his family a lot of pain. All goes well until he meets Cedric, and he is faced between love and telling his family the truth, or losing both Cedric and his family. This is a tough choice to make, and one that is dealt with honestly in this film.
I keep hoping that we here in the States will one day be able to make more than a couple of movies that are not afraid to show gay life as it really is...but in a time when even controversial director Oliver Stone has to tone down the gay content of a film about a historically bisexual Alexander the Great so his DVD will reach an audience, I think we will have to rely on other countries.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Great & realistic gay movie!June 18 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
"Just a question of love" brings it to the point how a gay relationship between an openly and closeted gay brings up problems. How difficult it is on one hand to be in love with a wonderful man and on the other hand denying this relationship to his parents. It shows also how important it is to accept and help each other and not just being selfish and going either this or the other way but finding a common way of life. Both actors fit well together and showed pure romantic love between to handsome gays. I really recommend this movie to everyone.