Die Beautiful: MMFF Movie Review

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"Die Beautiful" presents a compelling look into the world of gays and transexuals. While the story itself presents a balanced mixture of drama and comedy, the film is mostly a serious experience with a heavy and dark undertone that really grabbed our hearts and minds. Unfortunately, as much progressive as the film is in some regard, the film falls short especially in how it stereotypes gays and straight men alike.
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Trisha Echevarria (Paolo Ballesteros) at present is already dead. She has died beautiful after suffering an unexpected brain aneurysm when she won the Binibining Gay Pilipinas crown. In her week long wake, her best friend Barbs (Christian Bables) fulfills her wish of being transformed into a different female personality every single day.
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The film isn't ashamed to tell that our main character Trisha is dead. In fact, the film starts off with her wake as her friends and adopted daughter grieve her first day and then we get a glimpse into certain points of Trisha's life. This is the basic plot device that the film employs as we go back and forth between present time (during Trisha's seven day wake) and flashbacks to key points in Trisha's past. While it might be confusing for some, we loved it. The connections of past and present events is nothing new but it adds more style and depth to Trisha's storied life and even death. The film is a drama-comedy and that's pretty accurate. It had injections of comedic sequences or one-liners that slightly eased its heavy theme but it certainly knows when it needs to be serious. At the forefront is the acting of Paolo Ballesteros and newcomer Christian Bables. Both delivered stupendously amazing performances as gay best friends especially for Bables. While the story itself is mostly interesting we found ourselves struggling to swallow some of its elements especially with some of the key revelations near the end of the movie. We also found that the film had an extremely negative view of all the men while it presents a positive view on all women involved and stereotypical representations on some of the gay characters in the film. Overall though, "Die Beautiful" isn't perfect. Like its main character, it has its faults, struggles and imperfections but the experience is an enlightening and moving one.
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Rating: 3 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- great acting from Paolo Ballesteros and Christian Bables

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the story was interesting but some of its key revelations were totally unbelievable

Photos courtesy of "Die Beautiful" Movie Trailer

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