Damien lives with his mother Marianne, a doctor, while his father is on a tour of duty abroad. He is bullied by Thomas, whose mother is ill. The boys find themselves living together when Marianne invites Thomas to come and stay with them.
Generally absent French army rescue helicopter pilot Nathan Delille's teen son Damien Delille is the model student in his Alpine village school. He takes self-defense lessons from veteran neighbor Paolo, needed as non-provoking victim of class bully Thomas Chardoul, doting adopted son of petty cattle farmers Jacques and Christine Chardoul. Unaware and questioning that Damien is the innocent party when the principal, who guessed right, thus punishes both as fighters, his mother, local Dr. Marianne Delille, takes Thomas in after diagnosing his mother pregnant. The boys are forced to play friends, fight in secret, yet bond over confidences as closet gay Damien's grades slip due to a crush on Tom, who takes over a class champion thanks to home tutoring. They are separated as their now irrelevant fights come out, yet reunite intimately after a family tragedy.Written by
In a small town in the mountainous Pyrenees region of France, two teenage boys in the same grade have an intense dislike for each other: Damien (Kacey Mottet Klein) who lives in a pleasant house in town and whose family is well-off; and Tomas (Corentin Fila) who is bi-racial and adopted by a farm family whose home is a long distance from town. Lurking beneath the mutual contempt is a sexual tension.
The beautiful location enhances the charm and depth of this moving film. In addition to the story of the two boys, there are subplots in each of their families that add greatly to the story overall. While the story of the boys' conflict seems to linger too long, the movie can be credited for being unpredictable and full of surprises.
The characterization of Tomas is particularly rich and filled with contradictions. In one moment, it is easy to despise him for his bullying ways; in the next moment, it is easy to pity him for his difficult daily life and the uncertainty due to a change that is about to happen in his family. Though not explicitly explored, he also has the difficulty of seeming to be the only non-white person in the small town.
The actors are both great in their roles as is Sabine Kiberlain who plays Damien's mother and is also a doctor. She's very nurturing in both roles and is also quite touching as someone in a crisis in the movie's second half.
By the film's end, one has compassion for all of its characters.
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