Directed by Joseph Amenta, Soft (Previously announced in the festival as Pussy) is about three young classmates, Julien, Tony, and Otis, who are struggling with their sexual identities. However, unlike other coming of age stories, Soft revolves around a person discovering their homosexuality and their identity. Although, our three protagonists have a good sense of who they are and what they like, the greatest challenge that they face is trying to live and navigate through life being gay.
Taking place across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) of Canada, these boys are struggling with issues that many youth struggle with after coming out of the closet. Coming from a conservative immigrant family that is disgusted with homosexuality, Julien is forced out on the streets as a homeless teen. At the same time, although Tony has a supportive parent, Otis remains ‘in the closet’ at home, out of fear of his father’s response.
Soft is a beautiful and sad journey, that follows these boys as they just try to survive. The film highlights the dangers and rejection of coming out, especially at a young age, and how the system has the potential to demolish one’s self-esteem and force members of the LGTBQ+ community into poverty. With no support network of his own, Julien is left to rely on Dawn, a transwoman who is working as a prostitute, for food and shelter. Dawn is one of the few people that understands his situation, having lived it themselves before. Because money is tight, Julien considers going into the business himself, reinforcing a cycle of poverty that’s reflected by the lack of financial and emotional support offered to members of the LGTBQIA+ community.
Soft digs deeply into the hypocrisy of one the biggest and ethnically-diverse cities in the world. Known as an inclusive community, Toronto still frequently separates individuals from one another despite its vows to bring them together. This supposedly welcoming metropolis is the setting for this tale of lost individuals. In this way, Soft is very aware of how desperately each of us needs to be seen, as well as how infrequently that occurs for some of us.
Soft premiered at TIFF ’22. For more information, click here.