This 2014 Brazilian film (literally translated "Today I Want To Go Back Alone") is based on the 2010 short Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho ("I Don't Want to Go Back Alone") written, directed, and produced by Daniel Ribeiro.
The film centers around a teenage boy named Leo, who struggles at school and home due to his overprotective mother and bullying classmates. He dreams of a living a life abroad, where he can be free and independent, which is is never allowed in his life at home due to his visual impairment.
His only friend Giovana doesn't approve of his goal to leave the country, seemingly out of protection and sadness that he would be abandoning her. This creates an obvious tension in Leo's life, And things only get more tense once Gabriel, a new student joins their class.
The Way He Looks is a beautiful, sweet, and honest take on being an outsider in high school, coming of age in a world that misunderstands you, or isn't letting you grow. Leo craves nothing more than to find himself and be himself, and feels that studying abroad is the only way to do it. He even tells Giovana that it didn't matter the place, just the fact that it was somewhere different, somewhere nobody knew him. He could even create "a whole new personality". When Giovana tells him not to listen to his bullies, he replys simply, "I'm not the problem."
No, despite the bullying and desire for something better, Leo seems pretty well adjusted and comfortable with himself. He is even shown throughout the film making light of his own disability, which he feels others take too seriously. It is only when Gabriel comes into his life that he feels understood, and is treated differently than the overprotective people in his life.
Gabriel makes him laugh and brings him out of his shell, He exposes him to things that are out of his comfort zone, gets him to dance, takes him to the movies, and convinces him to sneak out to for a lunar eclipse. We get to watch the confusing and lonely journey high school can be, when you're learning who you are, who you love, and all you can become.
The Way He Looks is now streaming on Netflix.