Glory Hole blog

Tom of Finland: The Movie




The proudly erotic drawings of artist Touko Laaksonen, known to the world as Tom of Finland, shaped the fantasies of a generation of gay men, influencing art and fashion before crossing over into the wider cultural consciousness. But who was the man behind the leather? Dome Karukoski’s stirring biopic follows his life from the trenches of WWII and repressive Finnish society of the 1950s through his struggle to get his work published in California, where he and his art were finally embraced amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s. Tom’s story is one of love, courage and perseverance, mirroring the gay liberation movement for which his leather-clad studs served as a defiant emblem.






Handsomely photographed and sensitively acted. Captures a sense of rebellious excitement generated in part by living an outlaw life just by loving someone of the same sex or wearing jackboots and leather trousers.” – Maitland McDonagh, Film Journal International
"Terrific. A fascinating and fitting tribute to a true subversive gay hero." — Dennis Dermody, Paper Magazine

Tom of Finland does an excellent job of illuminating one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.” — Benjamin Sutton, Hyperallergic

Tom of Finland is evidence of a taboo finding and flaunting its way into the mainstream.” — David D’arcy, The Art Newspaper

Truly breathtaking. Pekka Strang plays the title character with alternating layers of warmth, anxiety, and playfulness.” — Emily Yoshida, Vulture

"Adroitly traces the artist’s life from his struggles in an underground society to his connection with a queer community and his success in America... viewers get to know and understand the man behind the homoerotic images." – Gary Kramer, Gay City News

"Finnish actor Pekka Strang gives a fantastic, nuanced performance as Touko Laaksonen, the title character in Tom of Finland, director Dome Karukosi’s shrewd biopic of the famous gay artist." – Gary Kramer, SF Bay Times

An intriguing demonstration of how eroticism in gay culture became overt.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Unique and unforgettable. A moving portrayal of the man behind the legendary images.” — Joshua Encinias, Film Party