3 out of 5 stars (average)
Thank you to Breaking Glass pictures for reaching out to me for this review. The film is in Italian with English subtitles
Hollywood has been slow to figure out how to provide positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters. While you have outliers like Call Me By Your Name and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, most gay characters in media fall into three camps: Hyperflamboyant, just discovering their sexuality, or (most commonly) have their gayness play a minor role in the story and their relationships with other characters. Enter 15 Years, an Italian-language drama that (Gasp) treats its LGBTQ characters as flawed and regular people with problems just like the rest of us.
Yoav (Oded Leopold) and Dan (Udi Persi) have been romantic partners for 15 years. When their lesbian friend Alma (Ruti Asarsai) announces her pregnancy, everyone in their friend group is thrilled, besides Yoav. As he has never wanted kids, Yoav fears similar gears will start turning in Dan’s head, but is too afraid to open up about his feelings. As a rift forms between the trio, Yoav must choose whether to be vulnerable or remain emotionally closed-off before his relationships crumble.
The story of 15 Years is nothing new (a relationship failing due to miscommunication), but is engaging thanks to grounded characters and good acting. The actors have good chemistry together, the production looks fine, and the resolution feels believable. A subplot involving Yoav’s family feels frustratingly underdeveloped, but the main story and Leopold’s performance compensate for this misstep. It’s refreshing to see a story about LGBTQ characters who are not solely defined by their sexuality and I applaud Breaking Glass Pictures for producing it. 15 Years offers refreshingly grounded representation and a unique point of view on its familiar story. See it.
Likely would be Rated R for Some Language, Sexuality, and Rear Nudity