Paolo Ballesteros as a homosexual might be overdone, but it’s still effective.

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Director Jun Robles Lana and Paolo Ballesteros deliver a film that touches the issues of discrimination, betrayal, obsession, and brotherhood (or sisterhood) through the corpse of a dead homosexual.

Die Beautiful is about the life (and death) of Patrick/Trisha, a transgender woman. Her life was told through a series of flashbacks, and the film goes back and forth when it comes to its timeline. Through the course of the story, the audience sees Patrick’s journey to being Trisha, her misadventures with having relationships with men, her obsession to participate in gay beauty contests, her friendship with fellow transgender, Barbs (Christian Bables), and her relationship with her adopted daughter, Shirley.

Ballesteros won the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival – Best Actor category, and it clearly shows that he deserves it. You can clearly see the struggle between Patrick and his father (Joel Torre) and how it affects him.* Or the heartache Trisha felt when her partners left her behind.

Another great thing about this film is its comedy. Ballesteros has incredible comedic timing, as expected from him. All the other gay characters, especially the one played by  Bables, were spot on with their comedic cues and jokes. The characters often use humor to mask the problems they face.

And that is another thing. The film goes back and forth when it comes to its tone. One second you’re laughing hard at someone’s joke about penises. The other, you feel uncomfortable watching a particular scene.** These scenes allow you to understand Trisha, a flawed person who means well for the people she loves. The paragraph Trisha remembered for the Q&As of the beauty pageants might show the resiliency of her character. Or it might show her stubbornness to positively change for the people closest to her.

However, what the film makes up for incredible humor and acting, it suffers from some pacing issues. There was really no build up to something huge that might happen near its so-called climax. There was a potential for one though, but it was not used.*** Also, there were some scenes that seem to be unnecessary for the film as a whole, i.e. the Jessie arc.

Furthermore, the film showed a plethora of scenes or plot points that we have seen over and over in a homosexual story. Nothing new was brought to the table except its continuous timeline shifts.

Die Beautiful is a film filled with great comedy and incredible acting. However, it also has not shown anything new when it comes to gay-centered stories. For this reason, this film is…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

*Before the “operation”
**Won’t tell you

SPOILER ALERT

*** Barbs technically stole Trisha’s body from her family (her father).
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