Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Thank You Girls

The Thank Your Girls (Kung giunsa pagbuhat og binisayang law-oy: Original script title)
Directed by Charliebebs Gohetia
Cast: Gie Salonga, Pidot Villocino, July Jimenez, E.J. Pantujan, Kit Poliquit

No queen of the desert, no Julie Newmar fetishists can carry a sparkly candle against "The Thank You Girls," a colorful troupe of hard-traveling drag queens in search of a title and a little tenderness. This low budget independent movie is rich in characterization and brims with lust for life; a rollicking fuck-you to poverty, stubbornly poised to laugh at misfortunes and loneliness. Which is quite a feat, really, as both social commentary vehicle---purely coincidental as these girls are set against a backdrop of debt and prejudice---and a gay movie that truly rejoices in what truly defines the homosexuals in this country: quick wit and glittery make-up. And love, of course. Love of and for companionship. Minus the burden of gratuitous nudity and sex, "The Thank You Girls" is able to focus on a staccato of stories, which bounces back and forth from the actual pageant to the next one, until all the girls' mishaps and raison d'etre are told, before finally embarking on the last pageant. But somehow, it's different this time around. After all the hilarious question and answer exercises (If you are stranded in an island, how did you get there?) and casual confessions, it feels like I actually know these girls and I did wish them well as I sat quietly in my seat. As the movie reaches the final stage, spotlights on, stomach in and chest out, a dream sequence all of a sudden rolls out. Glamour shots, flowing white gowns, expensive make-up. A quiet peek inside their fantasies, our fantasies at one point in our lives: To be blindingly beautiful. And if this is what it feels like to be onstage, even if it's just a fleeting moment of grace, then it's all worth it. 4/5

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