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REVIEW: 'Die Beautiful' shines with its sad plot and ambitiously funny 'beauconera' best friends

'Die Beautiful' could very well be Jun Lana's best film to date


Twitter: @MissHappyWriter


12/28/2016 10:48 AM
REVIEW: 'Die Beautiful' shines with its sad plot and ambitiously funny 'beauconera' best friends

122816-DieBeautiful_Push.jpgWhy else would anyone want to watch a film where a protagonist is sure to die?

The answer is probably because many are curious to see how beauconera (aspiring beauty queen) Trisha, played by Paolo Ballesteros, zealously lived his life.

The award-winning Jun Robles Lana film is the only gay-themed entry in this year's controversial Metro Manila Film Festival.

The flashback comedy-drama film retraces the whole life of gay transwoman Trisha (Ballesteros) through her seven-day wake, where she was made up differently everyday by her best friend Barbs, played by Christian Bables.

The plot went as far back as Trisha’s—still known then as Patrick—childhood where her beauty queen dreams started that which were suppressed early on by her father played by Joel Torre. It also looked back on her high school years where she came out of the closet, met her best friends including Barbs and experienced pining for the high school jock Migs played by Albie Casiño.

But the film particularly focused on Trisha's latter life, when she made a career out of joining inter-province gay beauty contests and when she decided to adopt her only daughter Shirley May played by Inah de Belen.

Needless to say, Ballesteros's renowned makeup transformations have been a major element on the film as it added the necessary "excitement" as to "who would Trisha be" in the succeeding days of her wake.

The film really invested in recreating the actual gay beauty contest scene complete with the funny behind-the-scene moments, vibrant costumes, interesting backstories and challenging overall beauconera experience.

But more than revamping the traditional gay dilemma plot and the unfiltered yet funny gay punchlines, Die Beautiful's success was all due to its lead characters, Bables and Ballesteros stellar performance.

As newbie lead stars and first-time co-stars, Bables and Ballesteros showed a distinctly familiar onscreen rapport that made it seem that they have worked with each other for the longest time. Their BFF moments and reenactments of the Maricel Soriano and Jaclyn Jose scenes are worth commending.

Ballesteros's powerful performance was sublime, particularly during his unfortunate experience in the hands of Migs and his devious friends. Bables made sure not to be left behind as he had his own moments, specifically during his confrontation scene with Trisha's sister Beth played by Gladys Reyes at the morgue immediately after her best friend died of brain aneurysm.

Meanwhile, whatever de Belen lacked in performance as the older Shirley May was filled by her character's young version.

In the end, with a life that was sure to end, the central question of the film was did Trisha live her life to the fullest?

one thing is certain (aside from the fact that Die Beautiful could be Lana's best film to date), Trisha was an embodiment of a person who passionately tried to live. This she did by taking risks with love despite getting heartbroken, fearlessly pursuing her dreams despite her shortcomings and by affectionately keeping a different yet unconventional family intact despite being rejected by her own father.