BEYOND THE MAKE-UP transformations, ‘Die Beautiful’ shows what consists a gay man by allowing viewers to journey with him from being an unaccepted person at home and a victim of sexual abuse, to becoming a beauty queen, if not to becoming a total transwoman.

The film could be faulted for its lack of focus as it tries to cover every aspect of Trisha/Patrick’s life, played by Paolo Ballesteros — her family, her love life, her friends, and the family she’s trying to build — but the film successfully hit its viewers hearts big time. While I had a problem with the way flashbacks were done and except with that problematic scene when the kid Trisha adopted asked who her mother was, as if she was adopted as a newborn kid, the film is perfectly fine.

Jun Robles Lana‘s direction of the film is exemplary as the film possesses cinematic excellence as well.

While the story banks heavily on the real-life personality of Ballesteros (his popular make-up transformations and his being a father to a young girl, among others), ‘Die Beautiful’ successfully toured us deeply into the life of a gay beauty queen — her struggles at his own home, her hardships during contest hopings, and her labors toward the achievement of her aspirations of becoming a woman.

Though it failed to have a strong mark by failing to nail what could have been a strong ending about the lead character’s family, ‘Die Beautiful,’ which chose to leave the ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could be’s’ to the audience, remains a beautiful film worthy of its MMFF 2016 spot.

The film is as colorful as that of the lead character’s life but the proper infusion of humor in the film’s dialogues, the creativity of the characters, which perfectly reflects the gay community who love beauty contests to bits — makes the film a wonderful Filipino film worthy of the viewers’ time and money. Since we never had one featuring a gay beaucon character as that of Trisha before, consider ‘Die Beautiful’ another breakthrough film advancing the welfare of the LGBT community.

Paolo Ballesteros made up as Beyonce in this scene in 'Die Beautiful.'
Paolo Ballesteros made up as Beyonce in this scene in ‘Die Beautiful.’

Ballesteros owns the film. His performance here makes him an actor worthy of his recent accolades. We won’t be surprised should he win MMFF 2016 Best Actor, a good addition to his big wins at the international arena. Prior to the MMFF, Ballesteros was awarded best actor in Japan and India just recently for this film. But his best friend here, Barbs, played by Christian Bables, is not to be neglected. More than the possible ‘Best Supporting Actor’ award, Bables is an actor to watch out for. She is pretty and stunning and delivered the role with flying colors.

‘Die Beautiful’ warms the heart as the lead characters throw powerful punch lines that make people laugh in between heartfelt, and even the saddest scenes. There were times that the film had this blogger shed a tear in silence while trying not to burst a loud laugh thereafter. It was one hell of a rollercoaster movie experience less the melodramatic scenes or over acted, slapstick comedy.

To say it is a must-watch film is an understatement. More than the colorful life of Trisha, the film is about every gay man whose passion for beauty contests is as big as his heart. It is about the hunk we know — a gay magnet perhaps, who would either take advantage of the gays surrounding him or offer one his sincerest love. It is about that one father one wouldn’t choose to have for his close-mindedness and selfishness. It is about friendship. It is about beauty. It is about the many faces of love.

‘Die Beautiful’ is a poignant film about being a Filipino, if not about being a human being in general. Go out and see ‘Die Beautiful’ and have your life touched at the very least.

Rating: 8/10

Note: ‘Die Beautiful’ is one of the eight film entries in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2016. We will do our best to watch and review all the films in this blog within the week. Read the rest of our reviews by clicking this link.

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