Daniel suffers from pedophilia, but this is not the immediate definition that you would expect. This is something that is pointed out immediately from the start, and rightfully so as we certainly have our ideas about what that term means. Daniel is attracted to pre-teen boys, but refuses to act on this sexually, choosing instead to be celibate. He has fallen in love with a boy though and simply wants to be able to spend time with him without others fearing that he will try to attempt anything sexual. It’s a difficult life to live, and an even more difficult one to explain to others.
Daniel’s World is a difficult film to watch without passing judgement, and that’s to be expected. Pedophilia is not something to be taken lightly, which is why the attitudes from everybody in Daniel’s life can be so shocking. Nobody is really bothered with his interest in young boys, although it feels like they should be.
Daniel at least tries to live his life in a way that will reassure viewers. He knows that his feelings are something that he cannot act on and is aware that there are steps he can take to inhibit his libido, but he also believes that there’s nothing wrong with feeling a romantic love for a boy as young as 6. As a parent myself, it’s almost impossible to feel like this is okay. Daniel may be very aware of his feelings and how he never wants to act on them, but that just doesn’t feel like enough as you watch.