Plot: Even if you’ve never heard of Tom of Finland, you’ve likely either seen his artwork or images inspired by his erotic creations. The visuals of hyper masculine, leather clad men engaged in open and joyful sexual acts with each other would become a global phenomenon. Tom would craft these men as representations of his ideals, hulking, muscular men with enormous penises, always ready and willing for whatever sexual adventure was ahead. His art would become iconic, inspire fashion trends, and spark countless men to aspire to be one of Tom’s Men. In this piece, we’re taken inside the world of Tom and his artwork, to see how he was inspired and how his work would become so influential.
Entertainment Value: This piece takes a look at Tom of Finland’s iconic art, but also the man himself, his life and inspirations. Tom provides extensive interview time here, with candid and very open discussions about his process, which in turn reveals much about his personal life as well. He talks about how American bodybuilding magazines sparked his imagination and inspired his artwork, as well as how he chose to express his own ideal man in his work. I found his conversations here to be quite insightful, especially when he talked about how even though his art is very sexual, it is also about a deeper connection than just sex. The segment where he talks about how eye contact and telling a story, even with a graphic sexual image, was important to him tells a lot about the man and why his art has become so iconic. His interviews are the heart of this piece and he has a good amount of screen time here.
In addition to the invaluable interviews with Tom himself, the movie speaks with those who were enraptured with his work. To hear these men talk about the art empowered them and emboldened them is amazing, you can tell Tom’s work had a deep, profound influence on them. This goes beyond starting to wear leather, as these men were able to feel secure and masculine thanks in part to Tom’s art, able to feel more like themselves and pursue their desires. One memorable conversation includes man saying his dream is to be drawn by Tom, as well as his hope that his penis would be exaggerated in the drawing itself. This piece is also loaded with Tom’s artwork, a wealth of his drawings can be seen here, sometimes as works in progress. So if you’re unfamiliar with his work, this is a great chance to see a wide scope of his art, while fans will appreciate seeing a constant stream of his work. Also included are some models who represent a living version of Tom’s art, which means lots of leather and sizable penises. I found this to be an insightful look into the life and art of Tom of Finland, a piece that feels intimate and raw, so both newcomers and fans should appreciate this one.