Beautiful Boxer is a beautiful film, from lush foggy mornings to flashing legs in bright shorts in kickboxing arenas. It’s also difficult to watch at times; the utterly solo pain of not being able to be who you are, of how stereotypes are used for money-making, of simple family struggles. This is the story of Parinya Charoenphol, a poor child, a “transvestite” in Thai parlance, who discovers a talent for kickboxing, and goes on to be a champion who revitalizes the sport. The ultimate male sport, done to support hir poor family, and to save for sex reassignment surgery.
The actor who plays adult Parinya is a professional kickboxer! How cool is that? Can you imagine a US fighter who would be willing to play an MTF? I was pretty wow’d by the acting throughout the film, from the little boy who was Parinya as a child monk (hungry for lipstick) to the adult fighter.
What I liked best perhaps was that this movie is about *showing,* not telling. It’s not a talking heads movie, despite the interview wrapper. Strong and lovely film.