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›› Ruben ‹‹

a short film by Thijs Verhoeven.

2012 | 14 mins | Netherlands.

a poignant short that shouts of love and acceptance.

starring: Erick Brons / Ruben, Anneli van der Hulst / Kim, Jim de Groot / Richard, Monique Schutz / Karin,
Karim el Kadi / Mike and with actor / singer Neil van der Hulst as Roy.

Adapted Synopsis:

Desperately trying to come to terms with his sexuality, gay teenager Ruben finds his path to sexual acceptance complicated, as homophobic bullying brings him ever closer to the brink of suicide.

Dave says:

No teenager should ever be made to feel that being gay equates to taking their life. And yet the suicidal rate amongst the LGBT youth of today is alarmingly all too high. Thankfully many a filmmaker has tackled this issue head-on and this poignant short from director Thijs Verhoeven is another shining example of a short film with a big heart.

Written by Hans Arendshorst and complete with the telling closing theme Every New Day performed by fellow cast member Neil van der Hulst, this short, like the song itself questions - why is it such a big problem that people are sexually different? For star of the show Ruben is not like the boys in his class; for at heart he knows that he's gay, only not out to his parents and little sister he seemingly has no-one to turn to for comfort and support. That is until an internet chat room encounter brings him in touch with Mike; a fellow teenager coming to terms with his sexuality. Meeting in person, both young men are finally able to express their innermost feelings for the first time. Yet life can be cruel and with news of their meeting spreading like homophobic wildfire in class, Ruben finds himself alone again. Tired of the incessant bullying and having to face the hatred of those around him, thoughts of suicide fill his head and of a railway track that appears to be his only way out of life at the end of lonely street.

Produced as an educational tool for schools to prevent homophobic violence towards gay teens, this is a work that whilst having some negatives in the critical mix, are ones that frankly I'm going to ignore, given the heartfelt message that it delivers. For this is a short film that speaks, if not shouts of love and acceptance; be it of your own sexual self, or that of the sexuality of those around you. It's a message than cannot be said loud enough, given on a global scale and on average 3,000 people needlessly take their own lives every day. That's a shocking 'one person every 30 seconds' statistic that thankfully works of this nature aim to address, one that here includes a tender scene between Ruben and potential boyfriend Mike that's sure to become part of many a video montage. And whilst the ending on offer is upbeat, real life however all too often finds the lives of friends and family shattered forever by the pointless death of a loved one who just yearned for love and acceptance. That really isn't too much to ask for in life, now is it.

As ever, check this FreeView out below and see what you think, even if and somewhat spookingly, the last FreeView I reviewed was of a short film that told the same story of homophobic bullying, only in an all the more dramatic fashion; that is Segev Gershon Green's bitterly poignant Adam.


Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 

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Copyright 2016 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
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