'Moffie' is an abusive homophobic Afrikaans term some men are much too fond of using. Teenager Nicholas Van der Swart (Kai Luke Brummer) experiences this first-hand when, in 1981, he is called up for military service in the South African army. The sixteen-year-old cadet finds himself in a hard-as-nails macho world that strives to literally imprint homophobia, racism and xenophobia into the minds of young men.
Some of the boot camp scenes are reminiscent of the horror of Full Metal Jacket, but this fourth feature film from South African director Oliver Hermanus (Beauty, The Endless River) is above all a tender portrait of a boy who is suffocated by his new environment. The humiliating army training confirms that Nicholas is not like his fellow conscripts. It is only during rare private moments that he is able to explore his homosexuality. Hermanus portrays not only the madness of the South African apartheid era, but also the warmth of a young romance and sexual awakening.