Jess & James (2015) Poster

(2015)

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7/10
Gay Road Trip Tale from Argentina
t-dooley-69-38691614 October 2015
Jess is described as 'a Bohemian youth' who is struggling, in Argentina, to live up to the expectations of his parents and wants to be who he really is – and that is gay. Then there is James who is a disgruntled waiter and is fed up living with his yoga loving and judgemental mother. The two guys hook up – and after some graphic, if simulated, rutting they decide to go on a road trip.

This is the story of that trip and the good and bad times that ensue including meeting Tomas and what he brings to the relationship. Now this is a small budget affair – they even have a Citroen for the road trip and the music is a bit electro annoying in places and for me was the least enjoyable part of this film – others may disagree. Despite that this is still an accomplished effort.

It is though fairly stylish and depictions of sex and the emotions that are evoked are all done extremely well. A relatively unknown cast did not show any limitations by their lack of experience and all manage to do convincing performances. It is also very beautifully shot with a keen eye for an arty angle and very good use of colour and texture to add to the mood and depth of the scenes. It is in Spanish with OK sub titles and runs to around 92 minutes. This is for those World Cinema fans who don't mind a bit of sex but also want the story to be the main pull and enjoy a smattering of art-house on the side.
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8/10
On a journey
fromdecatur-101263 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I liked this movie a lot. A couple of things I would note first: the music throughout was great and really added to the movie; also, the movie was beautifully shot, with lovely rural scenes and interior spaces made real and interesting.

This movie made me think of older narrative styles, back to Don Quixote. It's in chapters, and each chapter is it's own little story. I liked that there wasn't a plot sense of going from a definite A to a definite B, but that the feeling is that there will be episode after episode in their lives going forward well beyond the end of the movie.

That said, Jess does have a story arc which goes through the film, from refusing to kiss and insisting on being the top when he first meets James, to gradually becoming able to express a little bit of affection, to owning his gayness and acknowledging to his brother that he is "with James." The lead actors are excellent and make their relationship consistently intriguing and interesting.

The rural setting was fantastic--living in a small town in Illinois, I enjoyed the lack of urban locale.
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1/10
Just pretty faces
dieguitog2 April 2018
The script is really rubbish. Not a very believable story. Performances are quite weak as well. Just pretty faces can't make a movie. Not worthy!
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1/10
A tale not worth telling of people not worth imagining
eldadevata6 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I have to say that as soon as the first sex scene ended, it left such anger in me that I just couldn't enjoy the rest of the movie. So in this regard you should read my review as biased.

The sex scene was everything I despise about the gay dating scene, true enough it embodies only a minority within the gay population, at least in the developed West. On one side we have an almost sadistic selfish man who cares not the least bit about the pleasure of his sex partner, nor is he in any way inclined to treat him as a human person, not to mention the lack of any form of reciprocation. On the other side we have this self-loathing desperate hungry half-man, who lives under the dictatorship of his intrusive and often disgusting mother, who is willing to take the beat-down, no questions asked, like a piece of dead meat, just so he can go home, and jerk off, while his mother talks to him through the bathroom door. I'll be honest, I've always despised gay men who self-identify as "tops and bottoms", but this scene just took it to another level.

The rest of the movie is confused, broken, even splintered like a flawed mirror. The two "protagonists" are not shown to have really moved out of these obnoxious self-imposed psychological labels. There is some "evolution" but it pales in comparison to trauma of that first sex scene. The introduction of a "third wheel" makes little to no sense, it ads nothing to the story beyond making the film look all too French.

I have to say that I'm not necessarily rating here the acting which was pretty decent or even the filmography. I'm rating the narrative itself, the characters and the meaning the tale had for me. I find it very hard to watch a tale in which there are no characters I can empathize with.

Some people call this tale a "love story", one that has a "happy ending". I couldn't disagree more. If its love, its pathological, if its happy, its sadistic-masochistic.
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7/10
A BEAUTIFUL STORY BEAUTIFULLY AND TASTEFULLY TOLD
rinconia28 February 2018
I was enthralled with "Jess and James". The acting is excellent and the story beautifully told . And the cinematography is memorable for its use of Argentina's countryside, sky and clouds as a backdrop for a tastefully told love story.
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9/10
A wholesome, interesting love story
richardgoldwater20 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER ALERT: there is a happy ending. The movie avoids cashing in on the well-done, realistic family psychopathology to generate a morbid outcome. Sure, there are logical and continuity problems, etc. Why does James leave his iPhone out for the "old Lady" to investigate? So what? James has had the "best orgasm ever", and this convinces him to abandon his girlfriend and love Jess for life, and even to welcome a third to their trysting. That's AMORE! A scene in a chapel lines up a shot in front of an altar with a cross at its center; Jess leans back over his pew bench, while James works on him out of sight below, to produce an illuminated, anti- crucifixion image of pleasure. This is a beautifully heretical moment, lasting only a few seconds, so it is easy to miss. Imagine if all the torture and self-abnegation inspired by contemplating the crucifixion for the last 2,000 years could be redeemed by an image of true sexual love at the foot of the cross! review image: if it does not appear, see this review at AMAzon.
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6/10
Gay love on the Pampas
bkoganbing29 April 2019
Some smouldering passion underlies Jess & James a couple of young Argentine gay 20 somethings who pick each other up in a Buenos Aires park and have one of the most intense sexual scenes I've seen on film and that includes porn.

Both guys, Martin Karich and Nicolas Romero, are good looking as all get out and the two set off on a road trip to find James's brother Tomas who they think will be at least tolerant of them.

Some beautiful location photography of rural Argentina, the legendary Pampas plains where the guys travel on the road trip is the second best feature of Jess & James. The rest is the intensity of Karich and Romero.

A must for a gay film festival.
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