“THE PERFECT DAVID”— Coming-of-Age



Amos Lassen

After a workout, David (Mauricio di Yorio), a young bodybuilder, reluctantly poses for his mother Juana (Umbra Colombo) and she runs her fingers across his chest and shoulders, looking at spots for improvement. Juana’s examinations of her son’s body are treated with a detached calculation and when she later measures David, she finds a one-centimeter difference between his shoulders that to her is a striking flaw.

Juana is an artist and uses David to craft a “perfect” physique to use as a model for her latest sculptural creation. David is put on a strict training regime including early morning workouts, a diet requiring him to eat in the middle of the night and take supplemental pills to increase his strength. Although Juana assures David that his progress is almost complete, his motivation becomes less and less and his training interferes in his personal life. After events including an unsuccessful sexual encounter and a violent episode that leads to his suspension from school, David becomes more and more obsessed with sculpting his body into something that is totally unhealthy. He is surrounded by intense pressures and driven to extreme measures and faces consequences and unexpected revelations.

The themes of art, bodies, and obsession are everywhere. The physical, mental, and emotional toll on David’s health and self-esteem is evident all of the time and the relationship between mother and son is a strange psychological dimensionthat is guided by artist and subject. Juana sees David not as her son, but a body to be used as a clay to mold to her artistic desires. We see David’s life torn apart by steroids, hormonal rage, and bad relationships. The film ends with a clash  with everything that came before.

Director Felipe Gomez Aparicio tells the story of a young man’s journey of self-discovery through intense pressures by family and society to look and act in a certain way and a character study of a troubled teen bodybuilder.

David’s sexuality is being shaped by others to fit an ideal. In a twist, we understand the horror of why David’s mother is so obsessive about her son’s physique. David is only starting out in the world of bodybuilding, yet it seems that he’s already burnt out and drained psychologically and exhausted physically.

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