"This is a very sweet story you really feel for Johnny and Gheorghe"
Johnny (Josh O’Connor) works on the family farm with his father (Ian Hart) and grandmother (Gemma Jones), a life that is becoming increasingly restrictive as he must compensate for his ailing father who has become incapable of performing most tasks leaving Johnny to do all the heavy lifting. Anyone he used to know has left the small Yorkshire town for university or just to get away and in Johnny’s isolation he has turned to drink and casual sex in what appears to be a path of growing emotional and physical destruction.
Into this story enters Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), a Romanian immigrant who has been hired to help on the farm for lambing week. Whilst hostile to his presence at first Johnny and Gheorghe are stuck alone together out in the fields for days, and though Johnny first views him as another available sexual conquest Gheorghe isn’t letting Johnny discard him so easily. If Johnny can escape his path of self destruction he might find that Gheorghe is everything he’s always been looking for.
This is a very sweet story you really feel for Johnny and Gheorghe, Josh and Alec have great chemistry on screen, Gheorghe’s quiet reserve working to balance Johnny’s reckless rebellion. Johnny is easily sympathetic, it’s not hard to understand the combination of frustration and stir crazy he feels being stuck on the farm and you really find yourself willing him to turn it all around.
In addition it’s refreshing to see a film about a gay relationship that isn’t principally about the issues of being gay. Johnny isn’t fighting his feelings, quite the opposite, and though there’s an unspoken air of secrecy from his family it’s really not what this story is about. Similarly there’s an obvious tone of racism directed towards Gheorghe as an immigrant, mostly from Johnny at first who resents the idea that he needs help, but it’s not that significant to the overall story.
A single moment of more serious racism Gheorghe receives later in the film is understandable as something that would happen but it’s weirdly out of place, overshadowed by a more dramatic event happening elsewhere in the same scene, and it never comes up again so presumably it wasn’t a big deal going forward. The film doesn’t shy away from a few graphic images. I’m not talking sex, though it has no aversion to that, but quite suddenly we can find our characters examining cattle, assisting in livestock births and skinning dead lambs almost without warning. If you think you can stomach that though I definitely recommend this film for a feel good love story that won’t fail to make you smile.