Daniel Sánchez López
Matthew James Morrison and Alexis Koutsoulis
Two young men fall for each other over the course of a single day.
It’s Harry’s final day in Berlin, where he has been partying for the last forty-eight hours. On the sweaty euphoria of the dancefloor he shares a kiss with Johannes. Striking up a conversation, Johannes offers to help Harry print his boarding pass, leading them to spend the rest of the day wandering the city streets together.
Boy Meets Boy is the directorial feature debut from Daniel Sánchez López, who has co-written the screenplay with Hannah Renton. Set in Berlin the film focuses on Harry, who has been partying the last forty-eight hours, meeting Johannes on the dancefloor of a club. With fifteen hours left until his flight home back to London, Johannes offers to help him print out his boarding pass. This mundane task leads to the two of them spending the day together wandering the city. The contrasts in their lives and values force them to confront their own truths.
Daniel Sánchez López’s film is going to have noticeable comparisons to the stylings of Richard Linklater’s older work, especially Before Sunrise, as Harry and Johannes navigate through the city of Berlin. The city of Berlin is a character in itself, with one memorable sequence has Johannes riding around the streets on his bike with Harry as a backie, and it’s also in these moments here that López and cinematographer Hanna Marie Biørnstad show us the power and playfulness of touch, as Harry strokes Johannes’ leg with his hand whilst they later they feel the heat of summer shining down on the city. There some nice touches in the editing too from Thea Aae, especially when the title card doesn’t coming up until Harry and Johannes embrace on the dancefloor. The film relies 100% on the performances and chemistry of its co-leads, played Matthew James Morrison and newcomer Alexis Koutsoulis (acting debut according to IMDb), and thankfully the duo give really good performances and have strong onscreen chemistry together.
With the films one hour and fifteen minute runtime, I can feel the catch-22 that López and Renton had with the screenplay. The dialogue and topics that Harry and Johannes discuss during the course of the time together can at times be appealing, such as the duo discussing relationships in modern society, particularly with one being so fixated on the traditional idea behind monogamy, while the other is embracing the time and casualness of dating apps, even though we see the meaningless behind it all in the aftermath. Then there’s just in certain instances where some conversations feel slightly shoehorned in, particularly a scene when Harry and Johannes speak with two Jehovah Witnesses and then discuss the ideologies behind religion. It’s not that it’s a bad scene, it’s just the topics and discussions at times feel organic, and others feel unauthentic as the film feels like it’s going at a rapid-pace for Harry and Johannes to cover as much topics as possible. If it were given, say, an extra ten-fifteen minutes to smooth these discussions out, but yet the hour and fifteen minute runtime feels like the perfect cut-off mark and you would rather have your audience looking for more than overstaying your welcome.
López’s direction brings a tenderness to Boy Meets Boy, which has strong chemistry between Morrison and Koutsoulis. A decent queer romantic drama.