I Am Jonas

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
I Am Jonas Movie Poster Image
Violence, bullying in gay man's coming-of-age story.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 82 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie explores lingering emotional scars on a young gay man 18 years after tragedy that befell him and his first boyfriend. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lead character seeks escape through casual sex and binge drinking, gets into fights at a nightclub. 

Violence

Through flashbacks, movie shows developing relationship between lead character and his first boyfriend, how his boyfriend was abducted by an older man. Teen boy tells an elaborate and graphic fiction about how he got a scar that involves being forced to commit oral sex on priests. Lead character gets into a fight in a nightclub, gets arrested. As a teen, in aftermath of abduction, lead character imagines his boyfriend running up to him, begging for help before he's dragged away. Teens get revenge on a bully by lacing a cigarette, causing the bully to soil himself during gym class. 

Sex

Talk of hookups on Grindr. Naked buttocks on a poster. Teen boys kiss in a gym. 

Language

"F--k" used a few times. Teen bully verbally abuses lead character and boyfriend, making oral sex gestures and calling them homophobic slurs. "Bulls--t," "a--hole," "s--thole," "pr--k," hell." 

Consumerism

A Nintendo GameBoy is prominent in the story. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. Whiskey, wine drinking. Drinking in a bar leads to a fight. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that I Am Jonas is a 2018 French coming-of-age drama in which a gay man in his 30s tries to come to grips with what happened to his first boyfriend 18 years ago. There are English subtitles. The flashback scenes are mostly set in 1997, and one of Jonas' classmates verbally bullies Jonas and Nathan (his first boyfriend), making oral sex gestures at them and hurling homophobic slurs. Nathan gets revenge on the bully by lacing his cigarette and causing the bully to soil himself in the middle of gym class. As an adult, Jonas engages in casual hookups on Grindr, binge-drinks, chain smokes, gets into fights at a nightclub, and gets arrested. In graphic detail, Nathan claims (later disproven) that the reason he has a scar on his face was because he was forced to perform oral sex on priests. Profanity is heard, including "f--k." Teen boys kiss in a gym. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 17 years old Written bymichael088 February 9, 2021

Good Movie

This movie was good. The characters experienced multiple traumas.
Teen, 13 years old Written byMovielover8110 March 23, 2020

I am jonas review 13+

I loved it so much but was sad at the end because I didn't want to except it as the ending. Other than that the movie was impeccable and would recoment to... Continue reading

What's the story?

In I AM JONAS, Jonas has just been arrested for getting into a fight in a gay nightclub. When he goes home, his boyfriend breaks up with him, tired of Jonas' cheating and selfish behavior. As he tries to figure out what to do and where to go next, Jonas is continually haunted by his memories of 18 years ago, when he was starting ninth grade and met Nathan, whose free-spiritedness appealed to Jonas. Soon, Jonas realizes that he feels more than friendship for Nathan, and the two start dating. As Jonas reflects on these memories, he finds a way to connect with Nathan's younger brother Leonard. Leonard, suspicious that Jonas is stalking him, brings him back to his house for a party. When Jonas wakes up, he realizes he's in Nathan's bedroom, unchanged for 18 years. He reunites with Nathan's mother, and, with Leonard, who was too young to remember Nathan, Jonas tries to work through the terrible incident that ended his relationship with Nathan and led to Nathan's presumed death, and the pattern of self-sabotaging behavior that has resulted ever since. 

Is it any good?

This film does a masterful job of commingling the past and present and reveals how a traumatic incident of the past can leave a lasting impact on one's behavior. The interweaving of Jonas' coming-of-age story of his first boyfriend with the emotional scars he still carries 18 years after the fact is flawless, effectively conveying the idea that the past is present and must be confronted and accepted. While set in the present and the 1997 of southern France, the story and its themes are accessible enough, no matter where viewers live or their sexual orientation.

What emerges in I Am Jonas is a character study of a self destructive man trying to make some kind of peace with the events that helped to propel this self-destruction. As Jonas, Felix Maritaud strikes the right nuanced tone of someone physically and emotionally hurting those around him as a way to vent his own inner turmoil. He's not the most likable character, but that's not the point. As the movie progresses, the empathy one feels for Jonas as an adult begins to be as strong as the bittersweet-ness revealed in the memories of his first love. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about coming-of-age movies. How does I Am Jonas compare to others you've seen?

  • What were some of the ways in which the movie showed the viewer that scenes were taking place in the 1990s, as opposed to the present day? 

  • How does the movie explore Jonas' awareness of his sexual orientation, how he was treated by some in school as a result, and how the incident that led to the presumed death of his first boyfriend affects his behavior 18 years later? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love LGBTQ stories

Themes & Topics

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