This Dutch film portrays the vulnerability displayed by some teens when they realise that their sense of self is at odds with the norms of society. In this case, two boys in an elite athletics team are attracted to each other. For Marc this is no cause for concern; his sense of self is secure and he does not waste time worrying about the opinions of others. For Sieger, though, his growing feelings for another boy are a source of anxiety. While he is happy to be alone with Marc, his treatment of him changes when others are around.
Sieger already feels he is the glue keeping his family together; his father and older brother argue and fight and they all feel the loss of his mother, killed in a car accident. Sieger is the sensible one they rely on not to rock the boat. With his brother causing his father problems, there is little space to open up about his own feelings.
Training for a big race means the boys spend more time together and they relax in Marc’s company. Yet the expectations of others intrude and when his friend needs a double date with two girls, Sieger plays along.
As with many films about coming out and emerging sexuality, Sieger reaches a point where he has to make a choice about what he wants and who he wants to please.
The film is built around the performance from Gijs Blom, his acting is conveyed more through look and reaction than dialogue but he captures the poignancy of youth struggling to see how his identity fits with the world.
‘Jongens’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?