Love of Siam (DVD Review)14 Sep, 2009 By: Billy Gil
Prebook 9/15/09; Street 10/13/09
In Thai with English subtitles.
Love of Siam is a sweet and quietly sad film about loss and unrequited love, as told through the lens of two boys and their families in Thailand.
Mew and Tong become fast friends when Tong comes to the defense of Mew, who is teased at school for being a “sissy boy.” Their friendship is cut short when Tong’s family moves away, spurred by the loss of his sister, Tang, who goes missing.
Years later the boys’ friendship is rekindled when they meet in high school. Mew, who is now the leader of a boy band, has long harbored feelings for Tong, and those feelings spill over into new love songs; meanwhile Tong struggles to deal with his father, who has gone into an alcoholic depression after losing Tang.
Love of Siam goes above and beyond the typical teenage love story (or typical filmic gay love story, for that matter) by incorporating multicharacter family drama. The scenes between the boys are touching, and there is a refreshing lack of easy stereotyping in both the boys and those around them.
The film runs a bit long at 150 minutes, but its leisurely pace isn’t a detriment to the film itself as much as it may turn off some viewers. As well, viewers should be advised this tender film is no shirtless gay romp.
Writer/director Chukiat Sakveerakul admitted the film, a hit in Thailand, was marketed there as a typical teen love story, a popular genre in Thailand. The film’s commercial and critical success in a country not known for producing popular dramas or gay films elevates Love of Siam from an enjoyable movie to something more vital.