Saturday, July 6, 2024

Goyo: Movie Review

A dark and difficult watch about love on the autism spectrum.
Love on the Spectrum is a TV show that I have not seen, but would be a fitting alternate title for Goyo. Goyo is about a young man nicknamed Goyo (from Gregorius) with Autism. Goyo spends his days learning to swim with a group of mentally and physically handicapped adults but he actually just likes holding his breath and hiding from the world underwater and then yelling at his classmates.   2024

Directed by: Marcos Carnevale

Screenplay by: Marcos Carnevale

Starring: Nicolás Furtado, Nancy Dupláa

Movies about autism are difficult – hard to portray since there are so many different forms it can take, difficult for many audience members to see themselves in the character (including those on the spectrum) and difficult to form any sort of emotional connection since that’s a primary feature of so many with autism.

Some small moments that I really appreciate in Goyo include his job: he works as a tour guide at an art museum in Buenos Aires. Museum tour guides typically have two traits: knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter, and able to converse and engage with all kinds of people at ease. Goyo has an abundance of the first and while he may not be able to engage with others at ease, he can talk endlessly about art. It’s surprising how perfectly the career fits.

The second moment comes when Goyo meets Eva. It’s love at first sight for Goyo. When his sister asks him what it is about Eva that he likes, he says ‘two things; she’s beautiful, and…’ when he struggles to come up with a word, he says she has a quality that he cannot yet describe. Goyo doesn’t know much about Eva yet, but he’s able to pick up on an inner strength and perseverance that she has that he can’t articulate. The audience gets to know Eva through her husband; when he arrives home, she’s trying to tell him that he doesn’t live there anymore because he was in jail. His response, “No I wasn’t in jail, I was held in the police precinct for 72 hours which is a totally normal thing.” I like that line but it is way more humorous than it is dark which does not fit the rest of the movie that is about to come.

Goyo is filled with a piano score courtesy of Goyo’s sister who is a professional pianist. The score gives the movie a bit of an ominous feeling but that is also not the right tone. The movie is a romantic drama about autism and domestic violence, not comedic nor light at all, but also not fatalistic. Much like Goyo’s inability to articulate what he likes about Eva, nailing down this film’s tone is similarly difficult. It’s not an easy watch but its primary theme is love suggesting a more upbeat experience than many audience members are going to get out of it.

The themes are presented fairly, Goyo is a honest depiction of an autistic man experiencing life’s highs and lows repeatedly in a short period of time. For some viewers, myself included, it’s difficult to form an emotional connection so you’re left watching a fairly dark and depressing drama that can feel cynical and pessimistic even when it isn’t.