“Tale of the Lost Boys” is not your regular LGBT film. This is no gay love story, but a growing friendship between two nationalities and the unraveling of their identity crises.
Taking home the very much deserved Best Picture award in this year’s Sinag Maynila Film Festival (plus Best Screenplay), Joselito Altajeros’ subdued drama on the search for self-identity is keenly explored.
In Taipei, Filipino Alex (Oliver Aquino) meets Taiwanese aborigine Jerry (Soda Voyu). Their small talk quickly leads to a friendship that forces them to come into terms with their internal struggle. Alex is straight, while Jerry is gay with a live-in partner. We learn about their backstory through conversations so natural and credible that you immediately sense a strong connection and empathy between the two.
Both actors have strong onscreen rapport and are both terrific performers. Altajeros establishes a natural flow of a deepening friendship and you also find yourself, a Filipino, drawn to Jerry’s interesting family and cultural background.
As the two find themselves opening up about their personal crisis, you get emotionally invested. Altajeros cleverly draws you into the conversations—which are both superficial and intimate, casual and deep.
Watching the gregarious and animated Jerry and the cool and calm Alex form an honest friendship is fascinating; considering Alex is gay and Jerry is straight. Their racial and cultural difference melt as the two share a common crisis: the struggle to understand one’s self.
As the story progresses, both poignant and tender, your compassion also grows for these two lost boys. What makes this film beautiful is not about these lost boys finally coming home (i.e., finding one’s self), but about their unlikely connection that paves a difficult but courageous road towards inner peace.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Sinag Maynila Film Festival: March 7 to 15, 2018, in select SM Cinemas