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MMFF 2016: Die Beautiful - Review

die beautiful review

Jun Robles Lana’s ‘Die Beautiful’ never opts for simplicity. For a film that seemingly looks like a plain story about a man (Paolo Ballesteros) driven by his dreams of being able to win a gay pageant, this one feels big and majestic. 


die beautiful review

The fact that this underdog story is told countless times already on film could easily overshadow its potential to become to become a memorable one, but that’s completely not the case here. As simple and as familiar its plot is, it embraces itself interestingly to a non-linear narrative that supports to the story and message it wants to express. 


die beautiful review

die beautiful review

The film starts off with Ballesteros’ character Trisha lying down on his funeral, receiving his much-needed make-up transformation from his best friend Barbs (Christian Bables). The reason for his death has been a mystery for some of his close friends. But what is known is that he passed out shortly after winning the beauty pageant he has been dreaming of since his youth. 


die beautiful review

die beautiful review

Lana, coming from the terrific Anino Sa Likod Ng Buwan, clearly knows what his audience will expect to come out of this story, immediately giving a head start right off its opening. It’s fascinating to see how the odd back-and-forth between Trisha’s earlier life and his dying state that follows create a sense of indulgence and enormity to the overall narrative even though it could’ve turn out the other way around in no time. 

die beautiful review

Performance-wise, this film is a powerhouse. Paolo Ballesteros is already impressive right off the bat when we get to see him in action, proving immediately that he is bound to bring one of the best acting performances all year. The same goes with newcomer Christian Bables, who came off naturally with Ballesteros as Barbs. 


die beautiful review

The film also works very well when it is dwelling on the pairing of Ballesteros and Bables’ characters. The two’s realistic portrayal of their roles was a shocker, but their chemistry together is on a whole another level. In fact, the movie wouldn’t even work if not for the two working out together. 


die beautiful review

die beautiful review

Die Beautiful’ depicts life as a misguided and uncertain series of events to joy. The pursuit to happiness might not happen on the way we expected it to be, but it has already been there when we don’t see it. On moments we least expect to happen, or on death, where beauty wears its strongest suit. 

The geek rates it 8/10!

'Die Beautiful' is now showing in cinemas nationwide, as part of the Metro Manila Film Festival 2016.

die beautiful review



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