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Rated NR · 2006
This German coming-out drama is solid but flawed. Often a sensitive portrayal of a very difficult process, it eventually succumbs to melodrama, and its protagonist isn't easy to like. Tobi (Robert Stadlober) is an accomplished young oarsman whose rowing team depends on him for motivation and leadership. Over the years, he's formed a very close bond with Achim (the lovely Kostja Ullmann), his best friend. In fact, Tobi flirts desperately with Achim, and he gets away with most of it, since even engaging in parallel jerk-offs falls under the rubric of teen-boy play. But as the boys head to summer rowing camp, Achim's relationship with his girlfriend heats up, and he begins to lose patience with Tobi's cloying affections. And at camp, the boys encounter an all-gay crew, which sends a twitter of discomfort through their team. There's a lot to like in Summer Storm, including a superb scene between Tobi and his neglected girlfriend, but the film could do with a bit more subtlety and a protagonist who isn't so moodily self-obsessed.

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