Beautiful Boxer

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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Asanee Suwan, Sorapong Chatree, Orn-Anong Panyawong, Kyoko Inoue
Director: Ekachai Uekrongtham

For as long as he can remember Nong Toom has liked dressing up in women’s clothes and wearing make up. Now a teenager Nong Toom (Asanee Suwan) decides that he wants to become a woman. A chance trip to the local boxing bouts leads him to a surprise victory even though he has never boxed before in his life. This victory spurs him on to join a Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) training school so that he can train to become a boxer and pay for his sex change operation.

Halfway through his training he decides to quit as he begins to feel that Muay Thai is just violent and only after his coach’s wife shows him the true artistic side to Muay Thai does he become reinvigorated and goes on to become the most feared kickboxer in his camp. Nong Toom quickly becomes very popular with his impressive record of several knockouts and then with approval from his trainer he starts wearing female make-up in the ring. This move is greeted with a mixture of praise and ridicule, and he finds that the more make up he wears the harder his opponents hit him, but much to their surprise his looks hide a ferocious warrior who hardly ever loses a bout.

All the attention causes Nong Toom to lose himself and his true purpose and it is only after a series of heartbreaking events that he realises just what his true calling is.

Based on a true story this film has a beautiful look, touching authentic Thai music and a compelling story brilliantly brought to life by both the director’s vision and a wonderful performance by the professional Muay Thai boxer Asanee Suwan. The story content may seem to imply that this film is tailor made for the gay market, but it is not a gay film at all. Instead it is in parts quite funny, violent and dramatic but overall it is an interestingly entertaining film.

3 out of 6 stars