LGBT Inside Out Festival: HEARTSTONE (Iceland 2016) ***

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heartstoneA remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face adulthood.

Director: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson
Writer: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson
Stars: Baldur Einarsson, Blær Hinriksson, Diljá Valsdóttir

Review by Gilbert Seah

HEARTSTONE is the dramatic story of two pre-teens, Thor and Christian who are so good friends that others around think that they might be gay.

As homosexuality is looked down upon in the small fishing village setting, things get to a boil. It does not help that Christian has an abusive often-drunk father and Thor, two older bullying sisters and a single mother who becomes the talk of the village when she starts dating again. A big plus of HEARTSTONE is its Icelandic setting.

The landscape and photography are nothing short of stunning. For example, when the from door opens in once scene where Christian bolts out of the house, one can see the sea and mountains in the background. As the film progresses, Thor begins to attract the attention of a local girl while Christian wrestles with his new unfound feeling towards Thor.

The film begins happily in summer where the boys are mainly playful and ends with the arrival of winter when they have to face the realities of adulthood and their sexual feelings.

Guðmundsson captures the complexity of youth, showing more of the pains and hurt than the joys of youth in his earnest feature.



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