Usually, it is those who are blind that seem to be able to see the most. However, in high school student Leonardo's (Ghilherme Lobo) case, this simply isn't true. Persecuted by bullies for his blindness, Leo's only real friend is Giovanna (Tess Amorim), who has known him since they were infants.
It isn't until a new student at school, Gabriel (Fabio Audi), comes along that Leo starts to feel like he's truly being seen for himself and not just as "the blind kid." As one of the only people willing to hang out with him apart from Giovanna, Leo immediately starts to show signs of preferring him to his decades-old friend. This treatment enrages Giovanna to no end, who seems to have feelings for both Gabriel and Leo.
To make matters worse for Giovanna, Leo and Gabriel are assigned to a group project together that leads them to further neglect her. Soon, Gabriel is, for lack of a better term, "making the moves" on Leo by playing him Belle and Sebastian, which we can all agree is the ultimate in intimacy and romanticism.
Unaware of his own feelings for Gabriel, Leo does his best to suppress them by channeling all of his frustration into the desire to go on an exchange program abroad. When his parents refuse to let him, Leo is extremely disappointed--a sentiment compounded by attending a birthday party for a popular student where his most ardent bully tricks him into thinking he's going to kiss another girl after a round of spin the bottle, but really it's just a dog being held up in front of him.
This isn't the only drama to take place at the party. Between Giovanna trying to kiss Gabriel and Gabriel drunkenly kissing Leo, emotions are running high after the event. Ultimately, of course, the strength of Leo and Gabriel's attraction wins out over any judgments wielded against them.
As Daniel Ribeiro's first feature-length film (based off a short called I Don't Want to Go Back Alone that utilizes the same characters), we're given a remarkable amount of subtlety throughout The Way He Looks. From the attenuated glances to the uncertain approaches and displays of misplaced anger as a result of jealousy, Ribeiro has the teenager's plight visually and emotionally mastered. And it's wonderful to watch unfold.