Screen Gems

Coming out in the locker room is easier than the soccer field

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Jock Itch: Mario

This festival darling made the rounds back in 2018, where it took us off-guard with its thoughtfulness. Mario follows its titular character, a life-long soccer player (Max Hubacher) on the brink of a high paying career in pro sports as he prepares to enter the big league. When his coach pairs him in a roommate situation with the handsome new player Leon (Aaron Altaras), Mario must come to terms with his attraction to his new roommate and decide how it will affect the future of his career and the financial rewards that will come with it. Director Marcel Gisler could have easily let Mario fall into totally affirming coming out territory, or into soapy melodrama. Instead, he takes a mature look at the big business of sports and how public perception–fair or not–dictates the life choices of pro athletes. The movie also benefits from fine performances by Hubacher & Altaras, who have an erotic and friendly chemistry together. Mature, thoughtful and wrought with romantic tension, Mario defies expectations.

Streams on Amazon, iTunes & Vimeo.