Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? [Mi yohav otti akhshav?]

(Israel/UK 2016)

Barak and Tomer Heymann’s warm documentary, Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?, takes its title from the first thought that crossed subject Saar Maoz’s mind when he received his HIV diagnosis. A likable middle-aged gay guy (he turns 40 during the course of the film), Maoz relocated to London almost two decades ago after he was kicked out his kibbutz in Israel for being gay. It’s been a source of embarrassment for his religious family, whose respect Maoz seems to have lost. He sets out to change that, going back home and confronting his parents and his siblings. He has to get past their fears, their misconceptions about homosexuality and HIV, and worst of all their judgments of him.

Maoz, who sings in the London Gay Men’s Chorus, is oddly charismatic. Relatively unassuming, he leads a seemingly quiet life and doesn’t exactly stand out from the crowd; in fact, he blends in with the other men in virtually every scene with the Chorus (save for one—I won’t say what it’s about). He’s decent, honest, open, and has a good sense of humor with an imperfect past, all of which probably explain his charm. He could be anyone you know, including yourself. I must admit, I related to him on many levels here: his conflicted feelings about his religion, moving away from home and coming out, his sense of distance with some of his family, filling a void with partying in the early 2000s, being alone for a long period of time. He doesn’t come across as regretful or pitiable, just reflective and forward-focused. Filmed over the course of about five years, the best scenes are the ones with his mother, his father, and an argument in a restaurant with his brother. Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? is an often funny and sometimes heavy reminder that home is where you can be yourself, for better or for worse.

Screening followed by a live discussion with Saar Maoz

84 minutes
Not rated

(AMC River East) B-

Chicago International Film Festival


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