Tom of Finland - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Tom of Finland Reviews

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December 27, 2018
The movies focuses too much on the "finland" part and not the "tom" part. I'm not mad, just disappointed
June 14, 2018
As a biopic it's rather boring. Which is a shame because it's such an interesting story. He started in an era when gay sex was still illegal, to the point where cops would raid houses and arrest people if they got a tip that homosexuals were gathering. Gay porn was impossible to get a hold of so most folks turned to bodybuilding and hobby magazines. That kickstarted a leather daddy movement that thrived in the seventies before taking a hard hit in the eighties because of AIDS. It's still recovering.
April 12, 2018
Le sujet est intéressant, le traitement beaucoup moins. C'est plate de chez plate!
March 13, 2018
Very fine presentation of tom
Super Reviewer
½ March 4, 2018
The film has a strong visual sense and for the better part of the film is very interesting. My biggest issue with the film is the lack of depth in character study, you don't learn a lot about the era or the criticisms faced by Touko Laaksonen. The film is a lot of fun and they cover quite a range but there is a massive disconnect with the character interaction, I wanted to have more confrontations with his sister or his partner. Some of the best sections are in the first half of the film before we are thrown into a quick ending that doesn't provide a lot of insight. I really enjoyed the camera work and filmmaking but as a whole the film isn't that strong and another film could open the world a lot more in the future.
February 17, 2018
This is the least sexy movie imaginable. It's the usual closeted gay coming-of-age story set in WW2. What's frustrating is that this ultra-masculine art is drawn by a character who appears to have very little appreciation for dominant men in real life. I'm guessing the real Tom of Finland wasn't much like this depiction, or maybe I'm hoping so, because this movie depicts him as neutered and miserable. An overly empathetic disappointment.
Super Reviewer
½ February 10, 2018
It is surprising that an artist who defiantly inflamed white-hot controversy might have had a personal story advancing more slowly than a Finish glacier. The acting and technical aspects of the film are all good -- I just wish something nontechnical happened on screen.
January 30, 2018
I cried tears of joy when 'Tom of Finland' came to an end. Other than the makeup and hairstyling which I appreciated as the movie takes place over a span of nearly 50 years with all of the same actors, I don't have much nice to say about this overindulgent and repetitive film about several important issues. After seeing the opening scene I thought 'OK here's a movie that's going to push limits, but it stayed safe and was quite the bore. The actors seem like they're being held at gunpoint. Nobody is having fun which I understand may have a little to do with the subject matter, but how about a little charisma. If Tom of Finland helped inspire a revolution like the poster said, you need to make that the forefront, instead we drag on for nearly the entire first 45 minutes with backstory. After they're done beating you over the head, it starts beating you over the head again. It makes it's point then makes the same point again instead of telling us WHY some guy from Finland inspired a generation. Make your case!! The filmmaker shows a picture of Tom in front of a large audience at right before the closing credits. That's all you're going to do to convince me. Tom deserves better and so do you! If you're looking for a really good foreign language film out now go see 'In Between'. Final Score: 4.2/10
½ January 29, 2018
I was very excited that they were making this movie, as I am a big fan of Tom of Finland Art, and actually have some of his stuff. But, I didn't find this movie that exciting. The fact that a lot of it is in another language, made it very hard to follow. And, as sexually charged as the Tom of Finland Art was, this movie pretty much ignored that, and most of it was kind of boring. not at all what I was expecting from it. It's almost as if they tried to mainstream a man's life to make it more easy to swallow for today's gay fearing movie goer.

I think if a majority of movie goers saw all of Tom of Finland's work, they would understand why I think the movie studio that produced it watered down the gay. Ever seen the movie Cruising? Take the murder out of it, and the gay scene in cruising was far more accurate of the time of when Tom of Finland Art was at it's peak. Those were the type of men he drew. Uninhibited, and packed full of sexual masculinity.
January 15, 2018
Given it's subject matter I found this movie pretty subdued. Wish it was would had taken it to the next level instead it is a decently enjoyable tale that has ben told before.
½ December 25, 2017
Tom of Finland has his own autobiographical movie now, done by Finns themselves. Appropriate because he is one of them and spent his whole life living among them. Which was brave, because in his time, being found out as homosexual could meant effectively the end of the life as one knew it, including losing your life. Just like, say, paedophiles or terrorists today.

I am a bit surprised if you don't know the great late artist's name and/or haven't seen any of his work. Like, for example, Walt Disney or Herluf Bidstrup, he surely is one of the greatest artists of modern time, instantly recognizable and unforgettable for its style and soul.

I would say his drawings are like nothing else out there, although I actually don't know much about gay culture and its antics. But this is art at its purest and most powerful. It's unique, it makes you feel something and it talks to you, regardless of your sexual orientation and/or attitude towards homosexuality. Lust is universal.

The story is nothing original, the classic rags to riches" success story blueprints made popular by Oliver Stone's Wall Street" (1987) that the other movie makers still eagerly copy.

Which means that you can often guess where it's going and because of that, there's a risk of reaching the saturation point before the end, probably in the last third.

I enjoyed the ride in full, actually, but the risk is real. Maybe it would help that every movie using this formula wouldn't be around two hours long? It's not like it's gonna become magically fresher in long movies after 30 years.

But the formulaic story and the typical low-key I am a Finnish movie" look are not what make Tom of Finland" shine.

But what it lacks in inventive storytelling or visual flashiness, it more than makes up in heart and conviction. It's not just an re-enactment of a famous person's life, you can literally feel the lust that drove him, and men like him, on screen.

This is well conveyed by actors, especially Pekka Strang who seems to be straight in real life but does not shiver back from releasing his inner man-eater in hope for making everything come alive on screen.

This is not a comical role, and he really dives into the role so you can really buy him as the great artist. All this longing, need to break free from social chains, and satisfaction with getting what he wants seem authentic and real when they show on his face on screen.

Watching the gay scene, forced into hiding and later coming out in the open, is interesting as well. Creeping around, always giving out and trying to read subtle signs from other men, and desperation in the danger of being found out. The director has done a great job bringing this alive, as history lesson which is also entertaining to watch.

This is Finland's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film competition at 2018 Academy Awards. I think it's not serious" enough to have a realistic chance of winning... but who knows. Dome Karukovski is quite a big deal among modern Finnish movie directors, says IMDb.

So... Tom of Finland": an artist and now a movie even straight people can like! I know I do.

If you want recent similar movie suggestions, check out 2013's Behind the Candelabra" starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, it's great!

If I have any gay or bi readers, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the movie.
½ December 22, 2017
Aceptable biopic sobre el famoso dibujante.
December 20, 2017
Interesting to know the history and inspiration for the artist Tom of Finland, yet this film seemed to lack a cohesive narrative. It was more like a patchwork of memories, and some were fuzzy. I liked it but wanted his story told in a different, more substantial way I guess.
December 15, 2017
Such a great film, brings you in, and keeps you for the ride. Powerful, entertaining.
December 9, 2017
One of the best surprises this year at movies. Beautifully filmed. Looked like a photograph a lot of the movie. I am always fascinated in how gay men lived in the past and what they had to do to adapt. You think of Europe as the most liberal of places but not so much apparently. in Finland. Personal story peppered with erotic undertones but never raunchy. Always aware of his work, but not the story behind the man. Now i want to watch a documentary about him as there was so many questions i had after.
December 1, 2017
Tom of Finland focuses on the iconic artist in a more hushed way than you would expect. The entire move is in finnish, and it downplays the sex to look deeper at what made the man, the myth, the legend, tick. The acting was superb. I highly recommend this thoughtful film!
½ November 23, 2017
Very touching and entertaining film about the fascinating life of Touko Laaksonen. Loved watching the love story of Touko (Pekka Strang) and Veli (Lauri Tilkanen) unfold.
Super Reviewer
November 13, 2017
NO-MO-EROTIC - My Review of TOM OF FINLAND (2 Stars)

How could a film about a legendary gay artist who pushed the envelope with his intensely sexualized images of impossibly beefy men be so unsexy and dull? If that was their intention, then they pulled it off! TOM OF FINLAND, directed by Dome Karukoski with a screenplay by Aleksi Bardy and six (SIX!!) other credited writing assists, means well, and tells a important story in gay history, but man is it a long slog.

Born Touko Valio Laaksonen in 1920 and played by the extremely charisma-free Pekka Strang, the film rather artfully intercuts his time as a World War II soldier with his struggles to live as a gay man in Finland. It was a time of arrests, bar raids, and bullying if you were perceived to be gay. Touch retreats into his fascination with art, drawing image after image of pumped-up gay men. It was his way of giving to the community a powerful avatar, ones that could fight back against oppression and express desires many wouldn't dare to do. Eventually, he would be discovered in Los Angeles, where he traveled and built a loyal, adoring audience. The looks of 1970s butch and leather men were inspired by his work, instilling in the gay community a heretofore untapped confidence to stand up to its oppressors. As such, Tom of Finland, as he was eventually called, can stand beside the Stonewall Rioters as an integral part of the early gay rights movement.

Karukoski knows how to tell a visual story and there's something magnanimous and touching about Tom's journey. This quiet, unassuming man stayed that way even while others adored him. It's a lesson in humility in the face of success. The film has its moments, especially in the Los Angeles section, where it picks up some much-needed steam. I enjoyed the sequences where they seek out a Hassidic Printer, who may be their last hope after getting rejected by everyone else. The AIDS crisis also rears its ugly head, further cementing the inspiring work Tom did and how it made people feel good despite the horrors surrounding them.

Pekka Strang may be accurately portraying Tom, but if so, it doesn't make for compelling viewing. I just didn't really care to follow around this dullard for very long. It made me realize that a film can be important and unbearable simultaneously!
November 6, 2017
I? watched it and will watch it again. Very interesting movie and entertaining, not boring at all. If you're part of the LGBTQ community, you should definitely watch it.
½ November 3, 2017
Nothing innovative and the story structure and editing is a real distraction. It's good to learn of the era and person of Tom of Finland, but it's a very shallow story.
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