DVD Review - Elliot Loves

Jermaine Montell (left) and
Fabio Costaprado in "Elliot Loves"
One of the most effective scenes in Terracino's Elliot Loves is a sequence that cross-cuts back-and-forth between a moment when 9-year-old Elliot witnesses his mom get hit by her abusive boyfriend Danny and a moment when 21-year-old Elliot himself hits his non-monogamous boyfriend Kiko. It's a perfect visualization of how that kind of behavior is learned, but, let it be known, Elliot is not an abusive person. Yes, he came from an abusive home. In fact, he ran away from it. However, Elliot is not simply that. He also learned other things in his broken home. Despite it being broken, it did have one constant. It had his mother's love, and that's something else that Elliot mostly learned. He learned to love.

If Elliot has any problem, it's that he loves too much or at least falls in love too easily and too quickly. It's not necessarily a problem for Elliot, it's more of a problem for his boyfriends. For example, Kiko, a Puerto Rican, go-go boy, is scared off after Elliot says he loves Kiko only after a couple of weeks of dating.

At first, we see Elliot move from boyfriend to boyfriend for various reasons. It isn't until he encounters Kiko that the underlying reason pokes itself up. The sexual attraction between Elliot, played by Fabio Costaprado, and Kiko, played by Jermaine Montell, is apparent, but Elliot doesn't want to immediately have sex. He wants to wait and, as he puts it, "conversate." Elliot would prefer to talk to Kiko and not jump into bed with him. Any college-age boy is going to be particularly horny, but the sense is gotten that Elliot isn't driven by lust.

Elliot becomes smitten with pretty faces like Fabian, the Cuban paramedic, played briefly by Guillermo Iván, but we get that with Elliot there is something deeper to him. Writer-director Terracino hints at that depth, and really only allows that depth to be more obvious in one scene where Elliot brings home Joe, played by Monte Bezell, who is drunk. Costaprado's performance is at his most vulnerable.

The rest of the movie is all over the map. Terracino utilizes various techniques to tell the story. In the beginning, Terracino has his young Dominican protagonist speak directly to camera. Later, he has an animated cartoon convey an action scene. He goes from very comedic bits like Costaprado dancing in his underwear to very tense dramatic ones like Elliot's mother and her boyfriend being humiliated at a family dinner.

It's a character study. It's one that caters to a gay Latino audience or any audience that would appreciate watching a gay Latino coming-of-age story.

Four Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended 14 and Up.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 32 mins.


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