#FilmReview: “It Is in Us All” is set in #Ireland but is it #LGBT Representation or Not? Absolutely!

fourThe description of “It is in Us All” was strange and puzzling to me: “a sexually charged boy”. Was the film pornographic in nature featuring an underaged male participant? I wasn’t intrigued by that but decided to watch in order to disprove or better understand why it was phrased in such a way, especially when it is described as including LGBT representation, when being LGBT is again increasing in demonization and falsely attributed to pedophilia by some. I am so glad I watched this film in any case.

The film is set in Ireland, mostly in the countryside, so naturally the cinematography included sweeping shots reflecting the mood of bemusement and extended grief both the main characters and others were experiencing, from past and current tragedies. It’s nothing new in direction to use landscape as representative of emotion or even as a protagonist itself. Hamish Considine, the lead character, is visiting to settle the home and visit the graveside of an aunt when he’s involved in a car accident. His connection to his mother and family has been troubled for several reasons, and this is his first impression of a place he is “from” but never lived.

Others have asked how is this LGBT representative when they felt there was no overt discussions or references to sexuality, yet that shows are over reliance on stereotypes, often used by CIS heterosexual directors as interpretations of LGBT people. They may be dependent on overt sexual behaviors to “safely” decide, “Oh yeah, he or she is gay, trans” or anything else so they can stay in their “comfort zone”, as it were, of labeling and compartmentalizing others so they can define (or hide) their own identities, attractions or prejudices. Yet like intelligence, sexuality is on a spectrum.

From the first scene, Hamish, played by Cosmo Jarvis with great skill and in all his mumbling glory (subtitles highly suggested especially if you’re not familiar with Irish accents in general), I immediately sensed someone of probable non-heteronormative reality even if he had not made it carefully but respectfully clear to a female secretary or receptionist at the start of the film that he was not interested in her flirtations in the slightest.

The “sexually charged boy” is seventeen year old “Evan”, the lone survivor of the other vehicle involved in the crash, well-played by Rhys Mannion in representing the simmering desires, frustrations, attractions and love/hate quality for his life, location, and loves as any teenager might have, whether gay, straight, transgender or anything else. But which more often results in abuse, misunderstanding and ostracization, whether community or self-imposed for LGBT youth. In turn, some develop fixations, such as with death and dying, or in manipulations to establish control over others when feeling one has little control over one’s own life.


Young Evan soon attaches himself to Hamish who perhaps represents freedom, success and the “outside” world, of another possible life, but also as an accessory in covering up a critical detail of the crash. Was it an accident or a decision Hamish accidentally interrupted? Hamish in return, shows a desire for connection, of protection, of helping a young man in whom he saw himself when younger, as he might have been had he grown up in Ireland instead of England, where his mother took him.

In Hamish’s interactions with others, and then later with Evan and Hamish together talking to the same people, you can see the pointedly ignored or casually observed acknowledgement of the attraction betwen the two whether Hamish admits it or not. And the townspeople, of course, know more about Evan than the newly met Hamish. Particularly, with men, the priest, the shopkeeper, the barman, there’s always a careful gauging of Hamish’s reactions to revealed information, secrets, both past and present. About Hamish’s own family and Evan and the group of boys he is introduced to, and which Evan is the leader of. There is symbolism, and several scenes and dialogues obviously suggesting diversity of attraction and past behavior.

In the end, I think the “sexually charged” description was heavy-handed and unnecessary, causing misunderstanding of what would be shown, when I found this to be a beautifully shot film with nothing subtle in the suggested explorations, the budding desires and dreams of young men who want to be and do more than what is “acceptable”, but who still have love of the land and history of where they are from. That could be Ireland or anywhere. So absolutely, the title is apt, “It is in Us All”.

Sexuality was only one facet in the relationship of Evan and others, between Hamish and Evan, and why Hamish allowed himself to continue with Evan while he dealt with his own grief and history. I also found it to be an excellent representation and example of how an older and younger man can have an attraction to each other, for various reasons, but wisely the more mature man may take that age difference seriously, and choose to respect the need for the underage person to experience and explore appropriately in their own way, in their own time.


I found the film gorgeous, and the story heartbreaking and courageous at the same time. An excellent directorial debut with an ending you won’t see coming. I only wish more love stories, because yes, I felt there was developing love between the two, that such love and life stories of BIPOC and POC people were as sensitively and as often portrayed. Highly recommended.

My review was originally posted on IMDb. Visit my profile for more film reviews and lists, and my official review site, Red Haircrow Review