Goyo (2024) Movie Review – Forgettable, underwhelming mediocrity

Forgettable, underwhelming mediocrity

There are a lot of romantic dramas on Netflix, and it’s easy to see why. The films are relatively cheap to make, they mostly follow a cookie-cutter plot formula, and they’re easy watches. Of course, you still need great writing and lovable characters to make the whole endeavour rise up from mediocrity. And that’s where Goyo slips up.

Goyo is an Argentinian movie centering on a man with Asperger’s, Goyo. He’s a massive Van Gogh fan, and works as a guide at the Museum of Fine Arts in the City of Buenos Aires.

His routine though is upended when he meets new security guard, Eva. She immediately captures his attention and he’s smitten with her. It’s love at first sight. Eva though, has lost faith in love due to a crisis in her marriage with bad-boy Miguel. Will these two from very different walks of life end up together?

To give much more away would be a disservice to the film but suffice to say, if you’ve watched a romantic drama in the past, this one will hold absolutely zero surprises. While Goyo is well fleshed out and there’s a good deal of characterisation to understand his world view, the same can’t be said for his counterpart, Eva. She has no charisma or screen presence, and all of this directly stems from the script. It’s woefully underhanded in terms of helping to understand who she is as a person beyond being a mother of two, self-conscious and on the verge of a divorce.

Even more frustrating than that, the angle involving Miguel is never resolved and left on a tenuous cliffhanger, while the romance is rushed and steams toward an unsatisfying conclusion. There’s a subplot in here regarding Goyo’s past and his familial relations which has some good meat to it, and Goyo’s siblings, Matuta and Saula, absolutely do their best with the limited material they’re given to work with. However, it’s hard not to think this is thrown in for the sake of a bit of drama, and it’s not really given the time it needs to be properly fleshed out.

Unfortunately, this leaves Goyo a difficult film to recommend. Even overlooking the story and character issues, the production is surprisingly bland. There are long stretches without any music, with the most noticeable being the first drinks meeting between Eva and Goyo. It just feels like a bland exposition dump, lacking the pizzazz needed to help their chemistry zing.

Visually, things are suitably bright and that ties back into the idea of Goyo being so enthused about artwork and Van Gogh. There are definitely parallels to the ideas of a “troubled genius” and a couple of neat edits where Eva’s face or a kite turn into a Van Gogh-esque painting helps to reinforce this. However, that same originality doesn’t really bleed into any other facet of the film. It’s a shame because the story definitely has potential but it constantly feels like its squandering with a bland and lacklustre script.

As the one saving grace here, the film’s message is actually pretty good. Eva’s hang-ups about her age are smashed out the water by Goyo’s interest, who happens to be a lot younger than her. One could argue that his own mother issues are projected onto Eva but without going down that psychological rabbit hole, it’s just nice to see a romance that breaks the conventions of this genre.

There’s a really fitting moment where we see more of Eva’s vulnerability, which is a personal highlight in the film, as Eva gets dressed up and checks herself out in the mirror, questioning her own looks. These moments are frustratingly sparse though and it would have been nice to see more of that, especially as the few pockets of humour the film flirts with, gives the film some charm it’s crying out for.

Overall, Goyo is a disappointing foray into romance. It’s a film that almost has all the pieces aligned but a rushed script, poor characterisation and a string of other issues hold it back from being a better watch. It’s certainly not outright bad, but it’s not a good film either, slipping into the realm of forgettable, underwhelming mediocrity.

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  • Verdict - 4.5/10

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