IN Truman, a bromance tear-jerker (think Superbad meets Beaches), a pair of heterosexual mates hug and hold hands without rushing off to do something “manly” in the next scene to prove their unequivocal masculinity.
Hollywood, take note.
This comfortableness with emotion and ways to express it is an endearing quality that separates this cancer weepy from the hundreds that have come before it.
Canada-residing Tomas (Javier Camara) leaves his family and lands on the doorstep of his best mate Julian (Ricardo Darin) in Spain for a surprise visit.
The two have not seen each other in a long time, but they pick up where they left off as if no time has passed.
The reason for Tomas’ visit is Julian’s deteriorating health; his lung cancer has spread throughout his body and he has opted not to undergo any treatment.
During their brief reunion, amends are made, relationships are reconciled and a day trip to Amsterdam to visit Julian’s university student son are crammed in, while he also seeks a new home for his pet dog Truman.
While several moments feel like they come from the weepy movie making handbook (perhaps an over-reliance on the cutaway to a cute dog), Truman is a beautifully heartfelt story of a man facing his mortality with dignity with his best mate by his side.
It not only explores how impending death affects the one with the disease, but also those around them.
It is also one of the most sensitive and mature depictions of male bonding and friendship.
There is no winking or snickering when these two men hold hands when times are tough or hug to express their platonic affection for each other.
These guys do not need to sink a beer or bed a chick to balance their sensitive sides.
Just like real life.
Truman screens as part of the Spanish Film Festival, April 21 to May 11.
Directed by: Cesc Gay
Starring: Ricardo Darin, Javier Camara, Dolores Fonzi
Four and a half stars
Review by Julian Wright