Embracing your sexuality as a youth is always a difficult time. If you’re gay there’s still a stigma you have to overcome even though, for the most part these days, homosexuality isn’t as demonized as it once was. In Sequin in a Blue Room, we follow a teen who tries to take command of his sexual awakening only to find some situations that are far riskier than he could ever have imagined.

Sequin (Conor Leach) is a 16-year-old ready to have sex. He uses hook up apps to meet older men to orchestrate many trysts. It’s exciting and fun, and even though he’s underaged (he lies about his age to the men), he manages his one night stands easily. One of his lovers only known as “B” (Ed Whightman), is smitten with Sequin and tries to see him again. That’s not how Sequin operates and brushes him off, even hiding from him at an anonymous sex party at the Blue Room. It’s here Sequin has an encounter with a beautiful young man, and he wants nothing more than to find him when he disappears into the night. Unfortunately, B isn’t taking no for an answer and starts to terrorize Sequin, putting his relationship with his father and an amorous school friend on the line, as well as preventing him from finding his mysterious Prince Charming.

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Director Samuel Van Grinsven subtitles his film as a “homosexual film” for anyone who questions the type of film they’re about to see. It’s defiant and exudes both a sense of representation and the middle finger to those that don’t support gay coming of age films. The hookups are fast, frequent and sometimes frightening to watch; but there’s also a lot of heart in this film too. Leach is wonderful as Sequin, playing him with a naïve smugness you can only get with a beautiful young man who is adored by his lovers. He eventually shows his character’s vulnerable side once things go out of control.

Sequin is still a boy figuring out his place in the world and how powerful his sexuality can be; and the story written by Van Grinsven and Jory Anast conveys exactly this. The visuals are well-framed and moody; and the minimal dialogue works well, creating a sophisticated feel to the film. I highly recommend Sequin in a Blue Room if you want to see a heartfelt story about foolish youth at it’s best.

Screens:
Sunday, February 16, 9 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

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