| Movie Review: Beautiful
Alternate Title: I Was a Teenage Transvestite Thai Kick Boxer
Story: If this story was not true there's no way you would believe it. Teenage kickboxing sensation Parinya Charoenphol (nicknamed Nong Toom) climbs to the apex of his sport in order to save enough money to have a sex change operation. She is now a successful actress and model in Thailand.
It is a fairly formulaic presentation by first time director/writer Ekachai Uekrongtham . We get to visit her roots in rural Thailand, see her development as a halting, bullied and misunderstood child and watch as she matures and ripens into the international sensation she eventually became. There are quite a few laughs along the way. Not sure if they were intentional but I found it funny.
If you would like to see what the real Nong Toom looked like before and after her surgery check out: http://www.beautifulboxer-themovie.com/flash/eng/ssn_2.html
Acting: The story does not demand much from the supporting cast other than stereotypical behavior. However, the lead actor, Asanee Suwan , won the Thai equivalent of Best Actor Oscar for his knock out performance.
Predilection : None.
Critters: A puppy and some roosters
Food: Chicken and rice dish
Blatant Product Placement: None
Soundtrack : Corny
Opening Titles: A music video visual that juxtaposes the star in both kickboxing and female attire.
Theater Audience: The recently renovated Cinema Village East (established in 1926 as a Yiddish Theatre) is now outfitted with stadium seating. The beautiful old dome and ceramic decor makes for a wonderful cinematic environment. It was just me and my movie buddy and two strangers in this vast theater.
Sappy Factor: 0
Quirky Meter: 4
Drift Range: I did drift periodically when I saw the color of the monks outfits. They reminded me of Christo's Gates Project. I also could not help but compare how a transvestite kickboxer might fare in these United States (not good I fear in this very conservative climate).
Squirm Scale: I did not flinch during the kickboxing scenes but my movie buddy had trouble watching some of the action scenes.
Predictability Level: High
Tissue Usage: 0
Oscar Worthy : No
Nit Picking: It needed editing. It could have been just as effective with 15 minutes lobbed off.
Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. For some other films about transvestites, et al, try renting: Bad Education, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Ma Vie En Rose, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Wigstock, Birdcage/ Le Cage au Folles and all John Waters Films
Length: A little under two hours
LOBO HOWLS: 6