Written and directed by John Butler, “Handsome Devil” tells the story of two social outcasts, Ned and Connor, who form an unlikely friendship that’s tested by their peers and authority figures.
Ned (Fionn O’Shea) is often the subject of torment and ridicule at Wood Hill Boarding School, an institution obsessed with the sport of rugby. Since Ned finds his true calling in music, he is often bullied and referred to as “gay” by his peers.
Enter new student, Connor (Nicholas Galitzine), a troubled and closeted homosexual expelled fro his previous school for getting into too many brawls with his classmates. Connor is quickly welcomed onto the school’s rugby team for his rough exterior, but it’s no secret that he still feels alone.
Connor is assigned as Ned’s roommate and is at first unwelcome, but soon a deep friendship develops over their love of music and through the influence of their English teacher, Dan Sherry (Andrew Scott). When rumors begin to circulate that Connor is gay and his reputation is threatened, he begins to distance himself from Ned, causing a rift in their friendship that is taken further by homophobic rugby coach Pascal O’Keeffe (Moe Dunford).
Though the film’s simple “It Gets Better” plot can be a tad predictable at times, it really doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. The remarkable cast led by star-in-the-making Fionn O’Shea provide enough charisma to carry everyone’s attention. Andrew Scott is another standout of the film, whose brilliant performance as Mr. Sherry reminds us a little of Robin Williams’ role in Dead Poets Society. The superb editing by by John O’Connor is also of note, using various split-screen and wipes throughout the film.
All in all, Handsome Devil is a short, sweet, and to the point tale full of heart and humor. See it.
Handsome Devil arrives in theaters and On Demand June 2, 2017.