Image Credit: ‘Egoist,’ Strand Releasing

Is love egotistical?

Does it take a little bit of narcissism to assume someone will accept you, flaws and all, and even put your own wants and needs above theirs?

Those may be shocking questions to consider, but they’re questions at the heart of the sensual and thought-provoking Egoist, a new romantic drama from acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Daishi Matsunaga.

Based on author Makoto Takayama celebrated semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, Egoist examines love, sex, companionship, family, and grief through a uniquely queer lens.

When Kôsuke (Ryohei Suzuki) was 14, his mother died, and he grew up lonely in a rural, conservative village where he was forced to suppress feelings that he might be gay. Now in his 30s, he’s living the life he used to dream of: He’s an out and proud man, enjoying a comfortable life in Tokyo where he works as a fashion magazine editor.

Image Credit: ‘Egoist,’ Strand Releasing

In an effort to get into better shape, he hires a handsome personal trainer named Ryûta (Hio Miyazawa) who also secretly moonlights as a male escort in order to make enough money to support his elderly mother.

Despite Ryûta’s undisclosed side hustle, there’s a spark between the two, and they get closer with each passing gym session. Before they know it, the two men find themselves in a passionate romantic relationship.

Eventually, Kôsuke meets Ryûta’s mother, too, who is very close with her son. Still longing for a sense of maternal connection, Kôsuke feels comforted by their familial bond, and the three begin spending more and more time together.

But, one day, Ryûta fails to show up to a date, and Kôsuke’s mind goes racing: Has he been ghosted? Is Ryûta in trouble? Unsure of where to turn, he pays a visit to Ryûta’s mother, and the two search for answers, facing their uncertain future together.

Egoist first premiered in Japan back in 2022 where it made quite a splash. Not only does it feature two of the country’s biggest movie stars—who have been commended for their bravery stepping into such vulnerable, revealing roles—but it’s been touted as the first Japanese production with both a queer-inclusive director and an intimacy coordinator.

Since then, the film has screened at film festivals all over the world, and is now receiving a limited theatrical release stateside thanks to the queer indie film supporters at Strand Releasing. Egoist is headed to New York City theaters on April 19 and Los Angeles theaters on April 26, and more locations likely to be announced soon.

You can watch the teaser trailer for Egoist‘s U.S. release below:

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated