Over the course of a summer, the bond between a group of queer friends grows closer and is tested when their guardian goes missing in “Soft,” a 2022 independent release.
Main characters Julian (Matteus Lunot), Otis (Harlow Joy) and Tony (Zion Matheson) spend as much time together as they can, causing all kinds of drama across the city of Toronto. It isn’t stated throughout the movie what the group’s sexualities are. It is established that Julian lives with a guardian, Dawn (Miyoko Anderson), who plays a warm maternal role for the group, and Otis is keeping his sexuality a secret from his religious parents. Tony is the only one with a stable home life, and is close with her mom. While remaining a figure of authority in the lives of these teens, Dawn is dealing with her own struggles.
Being a confident and tight knit group of friends, the three main characters are set on making the most of a summer all over the city. From stealing cigarettes from a corner store, to trying to get into a nightclub, the characters treat the world as their own, never looking back.
When Dawn goes missing it is up to the group to find her. Unwilling to contact police because he stole a wallet from a man Dawn was sleeping with earlier in the summer. As a result, Julian is forced to look all over the city for Dawn. In doing so he enlists the help of a number of her friends. He then contacts the person who he suspected was responsible for her disappearance and the man claims that he hid a body under her bed in an act of self defense. Julian then convinces him to turn himself into the police for his role, though it is never abundantly clear what that was, and pay him an unspecified amount of money. The three main characters celebrate this by dancing together ethereally.
The cinematography of this movie made it an immersive experience, depicting intimate scenes captured to put you in the moment with the characters. It is a fast paced watch that leaves some important moments with less weight than they would have had if a more concise story was depicted. At times the plot felt a bit muddled but the acting mostly made up for this.
This movie and this story is a timely and relevant watch. It’s engaging and held my attention throughout.
“Soft” is part of the Frameline 47 Film Festival from June 14 to 24 in the Bay Area. The internationally acclaimed festival features 100+ queer films, which will also be available to stream June 24 to July 2.
Willow Thomas (she/they/he) is a Berkeley, California-based arts and culture journalist. Follow them on Instagram at @thecurlythomas.
Edited by Nykeya Woods