Based on the award winning short film San Cristóbal, Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo’s new feature length romance, Los Fuertes or in English, The Strong Ones has finally made its way to (US and Canada) video on demand platforms after a stunted release, due to fairly obvious unfavourable worldwide circumstances.
Thankfully this queer romantic drama has been well worth the wait. The film sees leading actors Samuel González and Antonio Altamirano reprise their roles of Lucas and Antonio from the short film for this feature length version. The Strong Ones sets the scene with Lucas visiting his sister in South Chile for a short time before he is due to depart for Montreal. He’s planning to move here in order to fulfill a scholarship that he’s been awarded in architecture. Although, whilst on his visit he meets a young fisherman and friend of the family, Antonio and they quickly become close. With only a little time before Lucas has to leave though, will their time together be anything more than a fleeting romance?
This is quite a familiar story for the romantic genre, and even still when looking through the more specific lens of the LGBTQ+ romantic genre too. However any familiarity that there might be with the overall narrative idea never becomes an issue as the film is so beautifully written and its cast is sublime. Both leading actors are tremendous in their roles and the pair has an undeniable chemistry that ensures this story of love and lust becomes wholly convincing. One of the films strongest elements is that it doesn’t shy away from the scenes of queer sex. These moments are handled expertly and capture the longing between these two men perfectly, and in doing so provide queer audiences with some much needed positive sexual representation on screen.
The film is an emotional watch too and you’ll more than likely fall in love with Lucas and Antonio as quickly as they fall for each other. The endearing performances of the lead actors combine effortlessly with the writing in the screenplay giving both characters a unique point of view whilst also creating a strong connection between the two men as well as with the audience. The screenplay also incorporates elements of Chilean history by way of Antonio participating in historical re-enactments which helps to enrich the cultural identity of the film.
So despite its less than revolutionary narrative ideas The Strong Ones is a more than welcome addition to the genre of queer world cinema. It keeps its narrative simple and ensures that the central relationship of its protagonists is convincing and captivating for audiences. The end result is an irresistible queer romance that delivers important scenes of intimate and sensual sex whilst still pulling on all the right heart strings, no doubt immediately set to become a new queer favourite.
Written by Hamish Calvert
STAR RATING –★★★★
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For more information about where you can watch the film click HERE.