The first twenty minutes of ‘Theo And Hugo’ (or, ‘Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau,’ its French market title) shows raw, graphic sex. I was put off by it initially. Though not exactly porn, it is very explicit. I wondered what it was doing in a fairly mainstream, if indie, film. Directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau, though, know what they are doing. they put it in juxtaposition with what comes – a real tender and sweet love story between the characters of Theo (Geoffrey Couët) and Hugo ((François Nambot) I am reminded of that anecdote wherein a long-life gay couple was asked in their 50th Anniversary where they met, and everyone, expecting somewhere ideal and romantic, and the answer was ‘while trolling for dick.’ because surely, some of the best love stories start with sex.
The film, for me, tackles a couple of issues. First, the aforementioned romantic aspect of it – there is something almost defiant about finding love at a sex club. But it makes sense – most times people go there because they are looking for more than skin. When both of them leave the place, they find out they have unprotected sex and a reality sets in – one of them is HIV positive, though with an undetected viral load. But in these modern times, you can actually go to the hospital and get a gay man’s equivalent of the ‘morning after’ pill – a round of medications to stop the virus from spreading. Honestly, I did not know that those things existed, but then again it could be something that may not be available in US markets yet. (And surprise of all surprises, they did not have to pay for it!) Plus, I thought that the setting was quite beautiful. Set in the northeastern part of Paris, it was nice to see it just as beautiful without the cliched settings of the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysee.
I loved the film, which was made foe hopeless romantics. I loved the fact that these two imperfect souls met and fell in love in minutes. I loved the fact that despite the big odd, the love and attraction for each other won – I couldn’t help but think that if this story was told fifteen years ago, the HIV positive aspect would have been a mood killer. Nowadays it is treated just as another inconvenience. The latter part of the film tries a little too much and slowed a bit of the action, but ultimately, this film is a big celebration. Celebrate it.