Sunday, December 27, 2020

MMFF 2020: Review of THE BOY FORETOLD BY THE STARS: Delivered by Destiny

 December 26, 2020

Dominic Cruz (Adrian Lindayag), a gay student from St. Francis School for boys, has yet to experience being in love. Baby R (Iyah Mina), a celebrity fortune teller in Quiapo with a 99.5% accuracy, predicted that Dominic will meet his soulmate in a week. She pointed out three signs which will confirm that this guy would the right one. 

Luke Armada (Keann Johnson) was a jock in the St. Francis basketball team who just broke up with his girlfriend Karen (Rissey Reyes). Depressed, Luke decided to join the Journey of the Lord retreat. Dominic was assigned to be his sponsor and they hit it off as good friends. As Baby R's 3 signs were happening, could Luke the fulfillment of Dominic's destiny? 

As Dominic, Lindayag was very comfortable and natural actor, very likable. Dominic was quite out as gay in school, and he jived well with his similarly gay two best friends, Timmy (John Leynard Ramos) and Miguel (John Ray Escaño). While he acted with quiet dignity in his scenes with Luke, he finally broke down his guard and lost his composure as he needed to fight for his love at that climactic crossroads moment.

As Luke, Johnson had the face and the charm to give this film a deserving leading man. He was a young man who believed in destiny as he based all his major decisions on the flip of a coin. But for that impulsive act of tenderness he did in that moonlit scene in the field of candles, there was no coin involved anymore -- a surefire fan-thrilling moment. In that one scene with Karen in the classroom, Johnson was at his most vulnerable best.

Writer-director Dolly Dulu (who had a cameo as a talk show host on TV) came up with a bittersweet story that bridged destiny with reality, making this a solid entry in the current BL genre trend. The cinematography, production design and music were all technically aesthetic. However, there were certain scenes which can be uncomfortable, like how a Catholic retreat had a reputation for being the "hunting ground" for the gay students who organized it. 

"The Boy Foretold by the Stars" leads the MMFF 2020 nominations list with twelve: Best Film, Director (Dolly Dulu), Screenplay (Dolly Dulu), Actor (Lindayag), Supporting Actor (Ramos), Production Design (Lars Magbanua), Cinematography (Marvin Reyes), Best Musical Score (Jhaye Cura), Theme Song ("Ulan" with music and lyrics by Jhaye Cura, performed by Nikka Maristela), Sound, Gender Sensitivity and Gat Puno Memorial Award. 7/10. 

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