Award-winning filmmaker Dome Karukoski brings to screen the life and work of artist Touko Valio Laaksonen (aka Tom of Finland), one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture.
Spring. Yorkshire. Young farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker for lambing season ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path.
Touko Laaksonen, a decorated officer, returns home after a harrowing and heroic experience serving his country in World War II, but life in Finland during peacetime proves equally distressing. He finds peace-time Helsinki rampant with persecution of the homosexual men around him, even being pressured to marry women and have children. Touko finds refuge in his liberating art, specializing in homoerotic drawings of muscular men, free of inhibitions. His work - made famous by his signature 'Tom of Finland' - became the emblem of a generation of men and fanned the flames of a gay revolution.Written by
This film played out far better than I imagined it would. As a production it has a very solid and creative feel to it and over all I can't fault it. Of course it's based on a true story and for me who knew of Tom's work, I never knew the dramatic background behind it. To cram so much story into 2 hours obviously meant sacrifices but I think the writers did well there. The film gets over to the audience the sense of gay oppression in Finland around that period and the dangers that practicing gays had to live with. That all sets the scene in the first half of the film which is dramatic but downbeat. In the second half of the film which is mostly based in America it all opens out and in contrast to the first half has a real feel good about it.
My score: 8 out of 10
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