Movie Review: "I Am Jonas"

I myself am not usually a fan of thrillers. I’d rather see a simple setting, a setting that has true emotional resonance, than a high-speed fight scene. Call me old-fashioned. Still, I decided to try out “I Am Jonas” after seeing Netflix recommend it for the eighth time. Netflix clearly knows that I like queer movies.

This film, however, exceeded my expectations. “I Am Jonas”, written and directed by Christophe Charrier, tells the story of young and mid-life Jonah, a gay boy coping with the trauma of his young life. As the film slowly unravels, we learn more and more about his relationship with Nathan, a young boy new to his class, and the suffering that follows. The film, jumping between time periods, allows us to see all the events leading into the trauma, as well as an older Jonah reflecting on the trauma, before we are truly able to see those same events conspire. It is this structure that keeps you on your toes, keeps you watching. It wasn’t that I wanted to guess the ending, it’s that I wanted to experience it.

I must say, something about seeing gay high school scenes makes me all sappy. We all feel good when we see ourselves on screen, and this was the closest I’ve found to a character that, in some way, shape, or form, resembles me. There’s some sort of comfort in that.

I have to say, as much as the two leading boys of young and mid-life Jonas were amazing, I must give the biggest acting credit to Aure Atika, who plays Nathan’s mom. In your typical Nicole Kidman-esque role, Atika plays the grief-stricken and emotionally vulnerable mother. A common trope, I know. Still, in the final moments of the film, in the final and most emotionally confrontational conversation, it was Atika who I turned to. You felt her immense pain. That’s difficult to capture.

It’s important to note that by no means did this film reinvent my life. This film did not make me question my life, my relationships, my world. That would be my primary flaw for this movie, simply being that it largely didn’t impact me. It quickly left my mind after I finished it. Still, it was an enjoyable watch, and Aure Atika should get the recognition she deserves. One of the better thrillers I’ve seen.

- Henry

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