2020 saw the rise of the so-called BL or Boys Love series online with the huge success of “Gameboys”. It quickly proliferated like mushrooms and became so dime-a-dozen that so many new actors started their acting careers by plunging into the genre.
Now, before the year ended, we have the first BL movie,“The Boy Foretold by the Stars”, written and helmed by the debuting trans director Dolly Dulu who said in interviews that the story is based on his/her own personal experience.
The movie is actually like the usual romcom with its now familiar tropes, except that the lead characters are both young men. The film is set in a Catholic school for boys.
Dominic (Adrian Lindayag of TV5’s “Oh My Dad”) is an outed gay to his close friends in school, but he claims he has not outed himself to his own parents. This makes you wonder since his actions are so effeminate it’s impossible for his parents not to quickly deduce what his true gender is.
Dominic has a big crush on a schoolmate named Paul, but he is so demure he cannot even express his feelings for the object of his affection. His friend, Timmy (John Leinard Ramos), is more open in declaring his feelings for his own crush named Joseph.
Timmy asks Dominic to accompany him in consulting a fortuneteller in Quiapo, Baby R (Iyah Mina), whose predictions are said to have 99.5 percent accuracy. At first, Dominic refused to have his fortune told but Timmy is able to convince him to try it.
Baby R tells him he’ll meet his soulmate in one week and gives him several signs that would indicate that this boy is truly the one that the stars have foretold for him. Dominic and Timmy are both volunteers in their school’s retreat, Journey with the Lord (which they seem to give almost every week), and their crushes both attended the retreat. But it seems the stars have someone else in mind for Dominic.
Luke (Keann Johnson) is a school jock who has a childhood girlfriend named Karen. They’re having problems in their relationship as Karen is so busy and eventually breaks up with Luke, who believes in destiny and always resorts to tossing a coin when making important decisions.
The heartbroken Luke attends the Journey retreat and he makes a friendly connection with Dominic. They communicate with each other after the retreat by exchanging text messages up to the wee hours of the morning.
Dominic recognizes the signs the “manghuhula” told him in the way his relationship with Luke is blossoming. Luke, in turn, eventually becomes confused about his feelings for Dominic since he grew up knowing he’s straight.
So what does destiny really have in store for them?
Things get more complicated when Karen (Rissey Reyes) suddenly shows up in the film’s last 20 minutes (she was just heard on the phone in earlier scenes) and reconciles with Luke, who gets even more confused and distances himself from Dominic.
But as we all know, this kind of kink in the relationship is just a plot ploy to make things more exciting, just like in other romcoms involving heterosexual relationship.
It’s not that difficult to predict as to who Luke would eventually choose in the end since the film’s title already predicted it. Gays will be pleased as it’s most certainly a feel good “kilig” happy ending for them.
Like what we’ve said, the story has been told before, but with lovers of different sex. This same sex romance is quite palatable since Dulu is a good storyteller on screen.
The film has good production and technical values. The narrative flow is smooth and the Catholic school for boys setting is used to great advantage in establishing the story’s milieu.
Those who have gone to retreats can easily identify with the letters from loved ones given to the retreatants, the singing of relevant Christian songs, doing trust exercises with your partner or sponsor. There’s also a scene where a young priest talks about homosexuality and whether it’s a sin or not. He says gays are also the children of God, but nothing is really resolved.
What is clear is that gay students are openly ridiculed in the school and even Luke is derided by his prejudiced macho friends for getting too close to Dominic.
Adrian Lindayag is believable in the role simply because he’s very comfortable being effeminate and doesn’t seem to be acting at all.
Keann Johnson is a definite find. He has leading man, matinee idol good looks and can also act. He’s also obviously an Inglisero as he delivered all his English lines persuasively. A major network should sign him up pronto.
If there’s something unconvincing in the movie, it’s the casting of Karen. The new actress they got doesn’t seem to be of the same age as Keann.
She looks more like his Ate (older sister) and not for a moment would you believe he would genuinely fall head over heels in love with this girl who doesn’t look at all like she’s in high school but already taking a post-graduate course. No wonder it’s so easy for Luke to dump her and choose Dominic over her in the end.
The movie doesn’t really break new ground but it’s quite pleasantly entertaining. Ultimately, though, this kind of gay romance will cater only to a limited market. We ask a gay writer if he had watch it and he says he did not.
“I’ve already seen so many BL web series. Nakakaumay na,” he adds.
Even in the case of the BL series, not all them found an audience, specially those shown in sites that require viewers to pay. As someone says: “Why pay? E, andami namang ganyang palabas that you can watch for free sa internet?” Which is so true.