The 2018 film Mario, from Switzerland, tells a beautiful story of two footballers who unexpectedly fall in love.
The film’s titular character Mario is a rising football (soccer for US readers) star. He has a promising career ahead of him and all those around him including his father want to make sure he succeeds.
While training for current season, the team adds a new player, Leon. The two players get along pretty well and decide to share an apartment. Then, one late night while playing video games, Leon initiates some playful tickling that leads to a kiss. Mario rejects Leon’s advances and storms off.
Things are awkward the next day, but not for long as Mario grabs Leon, kisses him and the two embark on a passionate yet secret relationship.
When another player sees them kissing, he first tries to blackmail the lovebirds, and when that doesn’t work, he outs them to the club.
While Mario and Leon’s agents and coaches have no objections to their personal relationship, they do think it’s best for the two and the club to keep their relationship a secret. For Mario that’s fine, but the plan doesn’t sit well with Leon. When Mario comes out to his parents, his mother is supportive, while his father has a much more extreme reaction.
While Leon is willing to give everything up for love, it’s not so easy for Mario. He’s seeing everything he’s worked so hard for come to fruition and knows that coming out publicly could be the end of his career. What sacrifices are these men willing to make for love?
I won’t spoil the rest of the film, because I think it’s worth watching for yourself.
Mario, unlike a lot of gay-themed films from the US, is well written and directed with stellar performances from leads Max Hubacher (Mario) and Aaron Altaras (Leon).
Mario is available to stream on Amazon Prime and Tubi. Fair warning, the film is subtitled in English so it’s best not to watch if you’re tired or distracted!
Take a look at the trailer below.