Tender and touching film about a young gay youth in São Paulo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A young man tries to find his way in life after the sudden death of his mother in the new film Socrates.

Socrates, now in cinemas and streaming online, is an emotional and sad story of 15-year old Socrates (Christian Malheiros), who with his mom, a cleaner, live on the margins of society in a favela in São Paulo. His sick mom suddenly dies in their small apartment, and leaves Socrates alone, and crushed. Determined to make it on his own, he does everything he can to find a job to pay the rent, which is way overdue. He even tries to take over his mom’s job but, being underage, the boss says it is not possible. With nowhere to turn, he ends up getting a construction job, where he hauls equipment back and forth.

His co-worker, Maicon (Tales Ordakhi) picks a fight with him, but this is a distraction because Maicon likes Socrates, and suddenly (perhaps a bit too sudden), Socrates finds himself at Maicon’s apartment where they fall into each other’s arms and get it on. In light of this unbelievable plot point, Socrates still has to struggle to pay the rent and survive, and when his long lost father shows up to take him (as he is a minor), Socrates runs away. Things go from bad to worse when he is kicked out of the apartment and has nowhere to live. With no help from social services, and not wanting help from his father, and with Maicon busy with other responsibilities, Socrates fights to survive in a world that seems to be putting roadblocks in his way.

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Executive produced by Academy-Award nominated Brazilian director Fermando Meirelles (‘City of God’), ‘Socrates’ brutally shows us what it’s like to grow up poor (and gay) in one of the worlds largest cities. Malheiros is superb as the downtrodden Socrates (he has won two film festival awards for his performance and won the ’Someone to Watch’ award at the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards), while other cast members hold their own. Directed by Alexandre Moratto working with a script written by himself and Thayna Mantesso, Socrates is a film you won’t easily forget.

And while the gay aspect of this film is unbelievable and a bit irrelevant, the story as a whole is about resilience, perseverance, and hope against all odds.