A quiet dreamer, teenager Pim’s (Jelle Florizoone) mind is always somewhere his body isn’t. Living with his bed-hopping accordion playing mother Yvette (Eva van der Gucht), it’s not until he starts an affair with the handsome boy-next-door Gino (Mathias Vergels) that he begins to feels alive. As Pim discovers himself personally and sexually, Gino surprisingly moves away and begins seeing a girl named Francoise. Now left alone, in a town that doesn’t feel like home, Pim’s affection for Gino grows stronger and stronger.
Suitably poignant, North Sea Texas explores the journey of first love with a confident aura. Director Defurne captures the feeling of repression in small town 70s Belgium, and the inner conflict of Pim keeping his sexuality secret with a sad beauty. Its unflashy aesthetic helping to accentuate Pim’s isolation and need for escape. The frailty of the character and his inability to let go of Gino is where this film really succeeds. That adolescent nativity that love lasts forever is something Pim obsesses over, he has seen his mother fall for many different men in his life and that’s not what he wants.
With such a quiet performance, Jelle Florizoone does incredibly well in his role, but somehow, it always left me wanting more. The subdued pain and angst of first love is played well, however, it’s just missing something. I wanted to see scene where we see his internal anguish bleed through into a proper emotional reaction. Although, this is more of an issue with script rather than Floriszoone’s performance, as Defurne relies too much on the reflective silence of his main character.
Guilty of both being a tad lethargic at times, as well as struggling to find a fitting conclusion, it seems to exist only in the fleeting realism of its characters and picturesque landscape of its setting. Becoming confused on where the story really wants to go or say, especially in the final third, where it becomes a tad messy and creates more problems for itself than its able to manage.
It’s not without problems, but North Sea Texas is nevertheless an admirable film from a director not afraid to celebrate gay love. Well performed by a fantastic cast and, on a whole, well directed, its delicate style is appropriately chosen for such a tender movie.