WHERE IS THE LIE? – A Review by Jenn Rohm
In 2020 a Filipino trans woman told her tale of being catfished on a dating website via Twitter. Using details from this story Quark Henares has directed and co-wrote with John Paul Bedia a new way to look at the story. In the current world of social media little bits of information are provided from one person’s perspective. This film tells the story from multiple perspectives.
The main three storytellers are Janzen Torres (EJ Jallorina) a “post-op no boobs” trans woman. She is a hopeless romantic with stars in her eyes. She has just broken up with her boyfriend when a new match appears on her dating app. Beanie Landridos (Maris Racal), a highly sought-after director has a bit of a devil on one shoulder. She is transphobic and along with her bestie, Gabby (Dina Fontrum) has been catfishing people on social media since their school days. Then we have Dennis/Theo (Royce Cabrera) who takes care of his body and wants to make it big. He is willing to do what it takes to make Beans happy. As the film progresses, we watch Janzen get to her breaking point, Beanie’s loneliness and self-doubt come about, but she is not able to own that she has done any harm and Theo’s waffling between being part of the group that hurt Janzen and claims of being a victim himself when the reality of his actions becomes too much to bear in the public eye.
While part of the core of this story is Bean’s transphobia and the cruelty that her friends and she subject Trans women too, the acting is so well done that people can place themselves in Janzen’s position and even a bit of Dennis/Theo’s. That’s not to say that Racal did not deliver, she did so to the point that others don’t want to see themselves as Beanie.
There were a few places where the story appeared to be going somewhere and then it ghosted itself. A few moments where Beanie starts to show compassion and guilt and even the desire to be her friend or maybe more. There is also a scene with the first call between Janzen and who she thinks is Theo calling. Was it what Jeric (Red Ollero) is saying or Janzen’s reaction that has Beanie locking herself in the bathroom? With the next call being made by Dennis as Theo they do have Janzen question it a little but not enough to be believable.
If you get an opportunity this is one to check out.
Director: Quark Henares
Written By: John Paul Bedia, Quark Henares
Cast: EJ Jallorina, Royce Cabrera, Maris Racal
MPAA Rating: Not yet rated.
Selig Rating: 3.5 stars
Runtime: 1h 29m
Release Date: January 22, 2023
Country of Origin: Philippines
Also Known as: Marupok AF
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well there was nothing else…
1 Star – Total waste of time.