LOVE, VICTOR _ The series that all families should watch (review)

LOVE, VICTOR (2020-2022), is a series halfway between the spin-off and the crossover of the film TUO, SIMON by Greg Berlanti, released in 2018.
The series, in its three seasons, addresses and explores delicate and universal issues such as acceptance, homosexuality and coming out, but also bullying, internalized homophobia, fatherhood, first loves and sex.

Plot _ Victor Salazar moves to Creekwood with his family. Here, in addition to facing the difficulties of entering a new social / school context, she will have to deal with her own sexuality.
At first she will be sunny and protected in the comforting relationship with the beautiful and intelligent Mia Brooks, but then she will not be able to escape the attraction she feels towards the sweet and sensual Benji Campbell.
The passion between the two boys will soon explode, but their relationship will have to overcome many adversities and hostility, starting with Victor’s own mother, Isabel.
Newcomers to Creekwood High School will test their mutual trust, as well as some secrets from Benji’s past (and present).
Will your love be able to overcome these obstacles? Or will the two boys simply choose different paths?

LOVE, VICTOR is a series created by Elizabeth Berger I Isaac Aptakersame authors of the script of YOURS, SIMON. And the thing is more than obvious: the bittersweet tones, a subtle humor and never vulgar or exaggerated, the sensitivity with which certain subjects are treated and the attention given to illuminating the different characters; they are the ones who made the 2018 film unique.

Far from the harshness and drama of EUPORIAas well as far from the irreverent comic verve of SEXUAL EDUCATIONthis series can be defined as unique.

The trailer for the first season of LOVE, VICTOR at Disney Plus.

First LOVE, VICTOR it was supposed to be distributed on Disney Plus, but at the height of Mickey Mouse’s empire, there was some concern about the issues at hand.
Considered “too mature”, it was preferred to be distributed in the United States on the HULU platform (also controlled by The Walt Disney Company), while in Europe – and therefore in Italy – it reached STAR ORIGINAL, included in the package. DISNEY +. .

THE THREE STATIONS OF “LOVE, VICTOR” (with Spoiler)

If in the first season (the best in my opinion) we focus on the coming out of Victor and, therefore, his conscience, the collateral damage involved in his decisions, the outbreak of love between him and Benji; in the second season we focus on the reactions that the departure entails, especially on the dynamics of a believing family, already in crisis due to the recent separation of Armando and Isabel, Victor’s parents.

If the protagonist finds support from friends and so does his father and sister; things will not go well with the mother.

Closely linked to the teachings of the Church, Elizabeth finds it almost impossible to accept her son’s homosexuality, let alone the presence and role that Benji plays in all of this. In this way she will carry out – consciously or not – a whole series of attitudes and actions that on the one hand will take her son away from her and on the other will sabotage the precarious serenity of her own family.

Complicating matters is then the charming and extroverted Rahim, of Iranian origin, a friend of Pilar’s, who will lead Victor to doubt his feelings for Benji, who in the meantime is caught up in confronting the ghosts of his past.

In the third and final season, what happened in the previous one will have its consequences. There will be a reversal of situations and relationships just to spice things up, but distorting the credibility of some characters. We are also the last high school year that coincides with the emotional maturity of the protagonists who will have to summarize their respective relationships and directions to take.

In short LOVE, VICTOR is a series that I highly recommend to everyone, young people but especially parents and family, because it delicately manages to convey very important messages.
If even in a sweetened way (Disney, I could say) reflects and makes us reflect on the now consolidated and silent system of a toxic masculinity that already puts its seeds in the family context and then grows and strengthens between the dynamics of an educational / school system and among students who in certain areas become almost elitist or hierarchical: upstairs are the athletes and the most popular in the school, then the groups of nerds or supporters of something that unites them. Those who do not conform to these models are necessarily cut off, classified as different or losers and therefore subject to bullying.

THE CHARACTERS AND THEIR DYNAMICS

Victor (a good one Miquel Cimino) at first carries within him a kind of internalized homophobia: accustomed to putting the serenity of others before his own, he chooses to stifle his natural inclinations so as not to worry about his family. And in his clumsy attempt to do the right thing, he will fail several times, mocking Mia (Rachel Hilson), the most coveted and admired girl in school. In it, Víctor sees an opportunity: to have found a good girl who he likes, but who especially likes his family and to be seen by his peers as a leader and, therefore, accepted by everyone.


Pictured: Michael Cimino and George Sear in the respective roles of Victor and Benji.

Equally important is the attention paid to the character of Isabel (Ana Ortiz), Victor’s mother, and all her “redemption” path she will take to overcome some of her prejudices and thus become a good mother free from the chains of certain archaisms linked to religious beliefs, as well as free- of judgments linked to homosexuality.

Other secondary characters revolve around Victor’s love story, but meticulously and genuinely sketched and therefore valued.

For example, his friendship with his neighbor, Felix Westen (Antoni Turpel), a talkative and clumsy boy, who hides in his intrusion the desire to be seen as normal and his difficulty in living with his mother’s depression and compulsive obsessions.

Mia’s friend Lake Meriwether is also well written (Bebe Wood), as well as the mutual love of Felix (they are the most beautiful couple in the series) which at first glance may seem superficial and pampered, but she also struggles with a toxic relationship with an oppressive and intrusive mother.
The woman punctually highlights her daughter’s physical and character flaws, placing her under a distorting magnifying glass that makes Lake always feel out of place or not deserving of anything. Pushed to always give it his all, he has no time to understand what his real desires are or what he needs. It is no coincidence that only in the third season does she discover that she is also attracted to girls.

Less incisive is the presence of gymnast Andrew Spencer (Mason Gooding) who in the first season seems to be a bully, only to turn out to be the perfect and loving boyfriend, madly in love with Mia.
It’s a pity that in the third season Mia doesn’t have her confidence built and Andrew shows us almost a puppet, devoid of his own identity if not dedicated to the well-being of his girlfriend.

Rahim is also handsome (Anthony Keyvan), also struggling with an extremely religious family, but with an eccentric and sunny disposition; and Pilar (Isabella Ferreira), Victor’s sister, with a smoky temper and always ready to make the wrong decision.

If then in the second season the reasons that lead Victor to leave Benji (he has not managed to have problems with alcohol) seem to us a very mismanaged narrative pretext, put it only to move the action and insert Rahim in the triangle amorous; these same motifs in the third season will be deepened with the sweetness and simplicity that distinguishes the series, in order to restore dignity to the character of Benji (George Sear)

It should be noted that the third and final season is affected by certain clichés typical of many youth series in which everyone leaves and reunites with others and then (almost always) returns to their steps. Just to confuse the cards. An avoidable misstep, in my opinion.

From left: Anthony Turpel (Felix) Bebe Wood (Lake); Rachel Hilson (Mia) and Michael Cimino (Victor); protagonists of the series LOVE, VICTOR

If in the first two seasons there is an interesting narrative link between the series and the film in which it is inspired (in Victor, he talks and writes and always confronts Simon, the protagonist of YOURS, SIMON, so much so that in the first season there will also be a cameo of the actor); this item is completely ignored in the last season.

However, the ending at Luna Park and the Ferris wheel scene ideally and romantically close this magical and silent connection between film and series.

ADORABLE!

LOVE, VICTOR _ The series that all families should watch (review)

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