Touko Laaksonen, a decorated officer, returns home after a harrowing and heroic experience serving his country in World War II, but life in Finland during peacetime proves equally distressing. He finds peace-time Helsinki rampant with persecution of the homosexual men around him, even being pressured to marry women and have children. Touko finds refuge in his liberating art, specializing in homoerotic drawings of muscular men, free of inhibitions. His work - made famous by his signature 'Tom of Finland' - became the emblem of a generation of men and fanned the flames of a gay revolution. Written by
"Tom of Finland" is the at times a disturbing and hilarious biopic of extraordinary, bold, brave era defining gay artist Touko Laaksonen. A sort of scatter-gun cover-all script does not detract from the essence of life that superficially and externally was seen as being something akin to "high illustration pornographer" but at its core was more about an uncompromising right to self-determination. Chapeau to the Finns who as part of their 2017 celebrations of independence, put this man's extraordinary life and this film up there with the likes of Sibelius in the country's centenary cultural repertoire. There is no denying Laaksonen's (and arguably the) talent for art and in life. Despite a sense that the writers have tried to cover too much touching on everything from Post war PTSD, AIDS, and the post war oppression of homosexuals, the director (Dome Karukoski ) has done a good job in turning a subject matter of potential distraction (the art itself) into the vehicle of a craftsmanship that deserves respect and as tool (if you'll forgive the pun) of an era impacting human rights advocacy.
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