Review: ‘Heartstone’ is about youth and sexual discovery

The Desert Sun - Usa Today

Hearstone won: Queer Lion, Venice; Gold Q Award, Chicago; Audience Award, CPH Pix Copenhagen

Synopsis: The movie takes place in a remote Icelandic fishing village where young teens Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as the former tries to win the heart of a more mature girl and the latter develops new feelings toward his best friend.

Scorecard: 8 (out of 10). Guðmundsson, in his feature film debut, beautifully crafts a touching “coming-of-age” movie that focuses on two young friends – Thor and Christian – on the verge of puberty. The setting, an Islandic fishing village with sprawling green fields, glistening lakes and snow-capped mountains, provides a picturesque backdrop in which to tell this universal tale.

Thor is the shorter of the two and longs to look more mature, like his tall and handsome best friend Christian. The two are inseparable and spend their days together, roaming the small town and trying to get the attention of Beth and Hanna.

Baldur Einarsson as Thor and Blær Hinriksson as Christian are superb in their roles lending a realistic and emotional portrayal of best friends dealing with a myriad of issues including their sexuality.

Thor and Beth eventually become an item, while Christian resists advances from Hanna because of new feelings he’s developed toward his best friend.

Despite the wistful glances and too close for comfort wrestling sessions, it takes Thor a near death experience and intense hug from Christian to realize what’s been going on.

He finally tells Christian to “stop being so weird.” This confrontation coupled with Thor’s very keen and nurturing sister telling Christian that it’s OK to be gay, pushes him to try something drastic that leaves the entire small town talking.

The Desert Sun (Usa Today) by Xochitl Pena

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