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Pretty Boy

A movie directed by Carsten Sonder

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Searching for a Dad

  • Mar 2, 2008
  • by
"Pretty Boy"

Searching for a Dad

Amos Lassen

The story of Nick, a disillusioned teenager, is the subject of "Pretty Boy", a Danish film, originally made in 1993 and now available on DVD. Nick has missed opportunities for a happy life and falls in with a group of thieves and hustlers while looking for a father figure. "Pretty Boy" takes a look at the sordid world of male prostitution and anonymous gay sex as well as the theme of betrayal of trust. Nick suffers from those he turns to for love and help. This is not a pretty movie as it deals with some very ugly aspects of society.
Nick, at thirteen years old, has no father and he has grown tired of living with his mother who is more interested in casual sex than her son. He wants to belong but feels he has no place in his mother's life. He leaves for Copenhagen where he sees an attack on a man in a public bathroom and somehow manages to find the man's wallet and returns it to him. Ralph, the victim, a professor of astronomy and Nick discover common interests and Nick moves in with him until Ralph decides he prefers a heterosexual lifestyle. Nick thought he had found the father he was looking for but finds himself alone once again.
Nick then takes up with the same gang that abused Ralph and meets the gang's broker, an older man named Max. Again he finds a father figure but when the gang double-crosses Max and he is arrested Nick is again alone and forced to live with the group. Nick, however, has not lost his affection for Ralph and this brings about a tragic end. Nick fell for Rene, a female, who dresses as a male, and their romance becomes troubled because of Nick's old feelings for Ralph.
The film shows us the dark world of hustling and thievery but it never really satisfies because the director loses grip of what he is trying to say. It certainly makes us aware of the closed little world of casual violence and prostitution but is repels a little too much. We do not get to Nick as we should but, on the other hand, the film does deal with a subject that many filmmakers would not touch. The lack of perspective by director Carsten Sonder hurts the film and it becomes heavy. Nevertheless this is an interesting look at a world which we do not often see depicted cinematically.

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More Pretty Boy reviews
review by . August 31, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Nothing      Cons: Every single frame      The Bottom Line: There is no reason for anyone to watch this; there was no reason to make it.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals everything about the movie''s plot.      The film starts on a train and ends on a train 80 minutes later. Pretty Boy’s eighty minutes between train scenes is the outline for a longer movie that would suck too. The user comment …
review by . October 27, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
'Smukke dreng' ('Pretty Boy') is a 1993 Danish film that is only now being released on DVD - and in a version that has eliminated the original degree of nudity. Though it is being marketed as a gay film and though the story deals with male prostitution, there is little gay sexual activity and a lot of heterosexual activity. Makes one wonder about the international editing...the story could use the original setting!    Nick (Christian Tafdrup) is 13 years old, fatherless, and …
About the reviewer
Amos Lassen ()
Ranked #210
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … more
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About this movie


This classic of gay cinema traces the violent coming-of-age of a 13-year-old street hustler on the streets of Copenhagen. Alienated from his dysfunctional family, Nick (Christian Tafdrup) hits the streets, making the acquaintance of closeted astronomy professor Ralph, with whom he shares an interest in the stars. The two spend a few happy days together before Ralph's girlfriend returns from vacation. An embittered Nick joins up with a violent group of hustlers who make a living ripping off their customers. There he finds love with the only female member, Renee (Benedicte Madsen), who masquerades as a boy. Eventually, Ralph has second thoughts about his decision, Renee gets jealous, and Nick has to make some important decisions, in a gritty, haunting tale of love won and lost, with stops at all the places in between.

Studio: Wolfe Video Release Date: 09/13/2005 Run time: 86 minutes Rating: Nr
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Release Date: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: September 06, 2005
Runtime: 1hr 26min
Studio: Picture This! Home Video
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