Goyo Movie Review: An empathetic and sensitive romantic drama that puts us in the shoes of the other

Goyo Movie Review: An empathetic and sensitive romantic drama that puts us in the shoes of the other

To put oneself in the shoes of those who may be different, to support them through their trials and cheer for them in their hour of triumph, is a message that the film delivers, and delivers well.
Goyo(3 / 5)

Marcos Carnevale’s romantic drama film is narrated in a simple and empathetic way, and that is its enduring quality. That it puts the audience in the shoes of a young man on the autistic spectrum dealing with matters of the heart, is indeed important. Nicolás Furtado’s fine performance as the aforementioned man in question gives us insight into the challenges of inhabiting such a complex existence. Goyo is employed as a museum guide, with his knowledge of the in-house art collection and art, in general, being exceptional. Even though he has no problems addressing visitors and taking them on tours, it is regular social interaction that doesn’t come easy. So long as his schedules and patterns aren’t disrupted, with everything going as per plan, life is smooth. His colleagues at the museum are sensitive to his needs and allow him to function in the way that suits him best. When an older woman joins work as the new security guard, Goyo’s life is thrown out of gear. Attraction isn’t something he’s used to experiencing regularly, and these strange feelings are pushing him to step beyond the protective circle he has built for himself.

Director - Marcos Carnevale

Cast - Nicolás Furtado, Nancy Dupláa, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago

Streaming On - Netflix

The first thing you will notice while watching Goyo is the sensitivity with which Marcos Carnevale has written his lead character. And this empathy is mirrored in those around him: his overprotective concert pianist sister, Saula (Soledad Villamil), his bantering brother-in-law, Matute (Pablo Rago), who never once makes him feel left out in any situation, and his colleagues, in general. Everyone in his immediate surroundings is mindful of his condition, without going as far as to make him feel uncomfortable. A sense that they’re rooting for him all the way comes through quite easily in the narrative. There’s a scene early on when Goyo follows Eva (Nancy Dupláa) to the subway in the hopes of introducing himself. It’s an anxiety-inducing sequence because it is way out of his familiar environment. It ends in Goyo literally falling out the train at a station platform and throwing up, being shown the finger by Eva (she presumes him to be a stalker). A simple act of travel by public transport, something that may seem so mechanical and run-of-the-mill for most, is given so much emphasis, as it may trigger a panic attack for somebody with Asperger’s (as it does for Goyo). Carnevale makes you think a great deal here, placing you in the shoes of someone with special needs. When her colleague is surprised to hear that Eva is going on a date with Goyo, she says, “Have you ever dated a guy who can’t lie? Who speaks his mind. Who is polite, incredibly smart, incapable of hurting you, and on top of all that, handsome? And the former’s response is, “Never in my life.” It is one of those short exchanges that encapsulates the sheer goodness of the film. Eva is in a tough spot with her family life and is aware of a positive influence when she sees one.

The film’s strength lies in its depiction of relationships and ties, familial or otherwise, that see you through in this life. Goyo’s primary caregivers, his sister and brother-in-law, being prime examples. Their approaches towards Goyo are vastly divergent, but his wellbeing is something they are both on the same page about. The former micromanages his existence when it comes to his big decisions, and is of the strong opinion that his love interest will only adversely affect his overall functioning. The latter treats him more like a buddy, taking him out for ice-cream and football games, sharing advice on dating and love. Eva’s situation is sticky, to say the least, with an annoying, soon-to-be ex-husband darkening her door, when all she wants is to parent her two boys peacefully. One of the fundamental truths that Goyo brings up is this: love will come to you in the most unexpected of ways.

At the heart of it, it a sincere story told in the most simple, straightforward manner. And yet, it doesn’t tread the simplistic road. Led by Furtado, Goyo impresses with some natural performances. Empathy, understanding and sensitivity are the foundation stones on which its narrative is built. To put oneself in the shoes of those who may be different, to support them through their trials and cheer for them in their hour of triumph, is a message that the film delivers, and delivers well. Now that’s something we ought to all get behind.

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