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Saturday, March 4th

Upstairs at 8:30 PM

Gameboys - Trailer
Gameboys: The Movie
(2022, 107 min)

Country: Philippines

Director: Ivan Andrew Payawal

Studio: Dark Star Pictures

Language: Tagalog/Filipino w/English subtitles


Based on the popular "Boys Love" series, Gameboys: The Movie follows the story of gamers turned lovers Cairo and Gavreel (Kokoy De Santos and Elijah Canlas). The pair have a few blissful weeks to spend together at Gavreel's house before Cairo is set to return to his own province. What starts out as a romantic holiday for the young couple soon turns into an unexpected test of their relationship. Cairo is faced with the reality of his imminent departure while Gavreel is compelled to make a life-changing decision. After defying distance, and even the pandemic, will the two boys be able to prove that their love to one another is strong enough to withstand fate and circumstance?.


This spinoff film from a web series deals with how a young couple handles the highs and lows of a relationship during the pandemic.

In “Gameboys: The Movie,” the consequences and uncertainties of the pandemic are the star of the show. Before this feature-length spinoff, the Filipino web series “Gameboys” (later shown on Netflix) used the boys’ love genre — made popular in manga — to confront how the pandemic was taking a toll on relationships. The show introduced audiences to the livestream gamer Cairo (Elijah Canlas) and one of his fans, Gavreel (Kokoy De Santos), with the two finding one another during Luzon’s lockdown and, amid intense isolation, interfacing online. With the film, their relationship moves from the virtual to the in-person realm.

And when the two move in with each other, they, like with many pandemic pairings, are forced to deal with some of the more unsavory parts of being together (too much attention, when to shower and the like). Their evolving dynamic is complicated when the quarreling quasi-lovers Terrence (Kyle Velino) and Wesley (Miggy Jimenez), and Gavreel’s conservative Aunt Susan (Angie Castrenc), crash their pandemic home.

“Gameboys: The Movie,” directed by Ivan Andrew Payawal and written by Ash M. Malanum, does not take the comic situation and run with it. Instead, it leads with a teen soap tone, and despite billing itself as a film, feels structurally more like a string of episodes smashed together. It toggles between a desktop movie (like the horror film “Unfriended”), with characters on FaceTime or livestreaming, and a straightforward one. But it is at its best when it lets harsh reality — particularly the sacrifices people who love each other have to make — disrupt its more predictable and adolescent impulses.

-- Review by Kyle Turner, The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com)