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Too Rough (2022)

2022 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW!


Nick (Ruaridh Mollica) and Charlie (Joshua Griffin) are in a loving relationship. Their friends are well aware of the couple’s status, but Nick’s family has no idea that he is a homosexual–and even worse, they are incredibly homophobic. Dealing with Nick’s dysfunctional family is becoming Too Rough for him to handle, and hiding his boyfriend from the family is even more difficult. He’s fortunate enough to have found love, but will he be able to hold onto it?


Regardless of who you are, you know someone who has a phobia of a group of people based on beliefs, sexuality, or something else entirely. Dealing with that someone can often be difficult, and concealing a secret in order to make your life run just a bit more smoothly can sometimes take a toll. This is exactly what Nick is experiencing, and the hurdles that he must jump through in order to hopefully find peace are massive. Through the story present in Too Rough I pictured family members, past acquaintances, etc. that have made social experiences difficult to handle, and Nick and Charlie’s dilemma resonated with me in a number of ways as a result. Writer-director Sean Lionadh’s attention to detail and appeal to emotion makes Too Rough relevant and easy to follow. Nick just wants to be happy, but those that surround him sometimes make that difficult.


Simplicity can be an inexperienced actor’s best friend, and that’s the case in Too Rough. Both Mollica and Griffin have a fairly short resume, and they take advantage of the fact that their roles in Too Rough call for simplicity, both shining brightly throughout the course of the film. However, as the murky waters of the narrative get darker and darker, and the young couple must deal with the hardships of life and Nick’s family, the two are asked to convey genuine emotion, to bring to light the darkness that would lie within each of them, and they are successful. I could feel the emotion pouring from them, and I understood their pain, and this is the mark of tremendously talented actors.


Too Rough often feels sloppy, but I feel like this is intentional. Nick’s life is sloppy, and it’s difficult for him to navigate his tedious and aggressive family–and those sentiments reach viewers as a result of Too Rough sometimes feeling overwhelming. There’s a lot going on, the cinematography feels less than precise, and the crowded cast becomes too much to handle at times, but this is all reflective of Nick and Charlie’s situation–and it relays those sentiments to the audience.


Both on paper and in reality Too Rough is very down-to-earth, and it’s a story, regardless of your background, with which you should be able to connect. Mollica and Griffin are wet behind the ears, but they bring an expertise to the table that allows Lionadh’s story to reach viewers. Too Rough is full of imperfections, but I honestly believe that these imperfections are created intentionally–leading to a stronger appreciation for Nick’s narrative and the difficult life that he leads. Through and through Lionadh does whatever he can to make Nick’s story feel visceral and real, and through the hardship and the pain of the film, I think all that Lionadh hopes to accomplish comes to fruition.


Written & Directed by Sean Lionadh.


Starring Ruaridh Mollica, Joshua Griffin, Neshla Caplan, Kevin O’Loughlin, Oliver Wright, etc.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐½/10


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