Shows & Happenings

Now Showing: 'Fluid' Is Not Your Hard-Sell, Lesbian-Themed Love Story

Now Showing: 'Fluid' Is Not Your Hard-Sell, Lesbian-Themed Love Story

Lesbianism is not new a theme in local films, but Benedict Mique's attempt on fluid sexuality through iWant's Fluid is something "novel" like COVID-19. Locally, there are about five films I could remember that tackled a similar theme. These were Connie Macatuno's Rome & Juliet (2006), starring Mylene Dizon and Andrea Del Rosario; Samantha Lee's Baka Bukas (2016), another lesbian-themed film and one of Cinema One Originals' entries that yeaar with lead stars Jasmine Curtis-Smith and Louise delos Reyes; Fatrick Tabada and Rae Red's Si Chedeng at Si Apple (2017) with 1969 Miss Universe Gloria Diaz and Elizabeth Oropesa in the title roles. Lee's Billie & Emma (2018), another LGBT coming-of-age drama set in the mid-1990s starring Gabby Padilla and Zar Donato, which made it to QCinema; and Viva Films' Adan (2019), starring Rhen Escaño and Cindy Miranda.

Among the five lesbian-themed films mentioned, the closest to Fluid might be Rome & Juliet. The latter tackled the romantic journey and soul mating of two women caught in a web of forbidden love—Juliet, a conservative preschool teacher and bride-to-be who befriends and hires a liberated businesswoman in her wedding planner Rome. Mique's film, meanwhile, followed a woman seeking new experiences only to meet another striking woman.

Spoilers ahead!

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Fluid may have a common plot, making it relatable in many ways. But its early twist sets it apart—the love triangle comprising a straight man (Joross Gamboa), a fluid woman (Roxanne Barcelo), and a femme lesbian (Ann Colis). It's "new" in such a way that it's the man and the lesbian fighting over a woman. Scenes where Mitch's ex-boyfriend and the wooing lesbian putting up a good fight in showcasing their aces—just funny eye-openers! The writers are able to weave a much balanced way of showcasing the pros and cons of both Jacob and George as the story progresses—but without any bias. +4

The trio of writers Carlo Baltazar Ventura and the two Miques (Benedict and Benjie) combined succeeds in presenting a subject on fluid sexuality, a reality illustrated by as having "no fixed shape, but it still has a fixed volume and consistency. So it may be with fluid sexuality—just because a person may prefer men right now doesn’t mean that will hold true for the rest of their life or even the rest of the week." The character journey of Mitch rightfully proves this so, as she embraces her fluidity despite her friend Wings (Emmanuelle Vera) and her mom's prodding. +4

With Barcelo and Gamboa both veterans in the craft, newbie Colis still fits right in. Colis, in real life, is the first Filipina to win Miss Globe 2015 and despite being straight, portrays the role of George effortlessly. She’s dusky, statuesque, and the role of an accomplished colorist seems to be tailored fit for her! As for the rest of the cast, Janice de Belen (Mitch's meddling but still caring mom) and Dylan Talon (Mitch's younger brother) almost always steals every scene with comic relief. Other cast members also have moments to their credit—Al Tantay as Mitch's father, and Mitch's three other friends Portia, Wings, and JM as assumed by Zar Donato, Vera, and Joanna Marie Katanyag, respectively! +4

The woman-to-woman lovemaking in Fluid is made tasteful, nothing obscene or offensive at all, and, although unnecessary, may even prompt others to compare it to heterosexual copulation in most series we know. There is an impressive sense of passion, so much so it gives away the series' conclusion and establishes the fact that two women can quell society's norms with their love. +4

The fourth episode leads to Mitch's obvious choice—it still is an acceptable, happy ending. The love that has more potential to grow even more, uncompromised. +5

Though straight as a person, Mique is a director who has the sensitivity of tackling issues about LGBTQIA+. No doubt, he knows how to tell queer stories without making it a hard-sell. Perhaps, the only misgiving found is how Gamboa portrays his character. While he's a good actor, someone as beguiling as Colis may possible make the tug-of-war between the two fighters more exciting. -1

[related: Now Showing: Understatedly, 'Metamorphosis' Lends A Voice To Transexuals]

With a total of 20 points, Fluid can be as exciting as Mique's latest work—teenybopper film Wild Little Love starring Andrea Brillantes and Seth Fedelin. All said, his choice of two female leads (Barcelo and Colis) provided the real anchor for the story, with a romance that is refreshing and triumphant in this new age of cinema!

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Photographs by iWant




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