While some of the nudity, especially the early nudity, might be gratuitous, I will make an argument for all the increased sexuality that does go beyond the mere prurient interest. The movie centers more on Chris Merrill who is first and foremost a Mormon, well-mannered, polite and very religious. He's also married with a 3-year-old daughter. His problem is that five years ago Chris had an affair with fellow Mormon missionary RJ Smith. Chris runs into RJ at the funeral of a mutual friend, and this reignites Chris' suppressed homosexuality.
Now, I've always been of the opinion that if you're doing a movie about food, you show food. If you're doing a movie about sexuality, you show sexuality. The exploration of Chris' sexuality is the key here. If the case to be made is that Chris is gay, then showing it rather than just telling it is more powerful, especially the striking contrast of Chris' difficulty when performing with his wife as opposed to the ease with which he performs with his male lover.
Some might criticize, and I might be included, that the sex scene between Chris and RJ is too long. Given the controversy but still critical-acclaim for Blue is the Warmest Color, lengthy, gay-sex scenes might just turn out to be the thing this year. Yet, the sex scene in its fevered release of passion and adulterous yet liberating contrasts is striking, particularly as it gives Garcia something different to do than what he did in the first and what he does for the majority of this movie, which is simply, steadily and unobtrusively observing his actors.
In that regard, Garcia shines as he provides a great vehicle to showcase his two lead actors who are both very talented young men. Farmer carries a lot of the weight in this movie. Ferrucci's character goes through a very significant arc, but the story is more balanced toward Farmer. For example, Farmer has some wordy monologues that he has to deliver that Ferrucci does not.
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