Friday, March 27, 2009

Sentiments of an Obsessed Cinemaphile


I still can't seem to purge the Love of Siam hangover, so in a cathartic effort I'll recount the story one last time...

As a young boy, Mew was referred to by his classmates as "that sissy boy". Frequently a loner in school, he seeks solace in the company of his grandmother who takes care of him. Next door lived Tong, a high-spirited boy about the same age, with an equally active and impish older sister Tang.

One day, as Tang teaches her brother to blow a bubblegum, Tong accidentally spits the gum and it lands on Mew's hair. Mew runs to his grandmother in tears, and she comforts him. She teaches Mew how to use music to express one's feelings and she explains why she favors a particular song- a melody Mew's grandfather once played to her to express his love.

One day at school, Mew gets bullied and Tong comes to the rescue- only to get beaten himself. As Mew tends to his friend's bruises, Tong sheepishly apologizes for the gum incident. Mew declares they are now even and from then on, the two become best friends.

On a family trip to Chiang Mai, Tang begs her parents to stay behind for a few days with friends. Her mother reluctantly agrees as her husband insists- "she is a big girl and can already take care of herself." Upon their return, Tong gives his Mew a present through a treasure hunt- Mew uncovers parts of his present all throughout the park, but only to find the wooden toy missing the last piece, as the tree where it was hidden in was cut down.

"It's ok," young Mew declares. Happy nonetheless at his friend's efforts.

But Tang did not return on the date she promised. Tong's parents left him in the care of Mew's grandmother as they return to Chiang Mai to search for their missing daughter. As the nights pass, Tong gets lonelier and his friend comforts him as they lay together on Mew's bed.

The day came when Tong's heartbroken parents decided that they should move away. Tong searched for his friend to say goodbye, and found Mew at their usual spot at the park by the river, sitting by himself. He told Mew not to let anyone bully him and that he should take care of himself. Mew did not say anything in response, later he just quietly watched the car sped away and wept.

Fast forward to the present- the boys are now adolescents. Tong is a handsome fellow with a beautiful girlfriend named Donut, however Tong seems distant towards her. His father had sunk into depression and became an alcoholic, much to the dismay of his fortitudinous mother.

Mew is now the lead singer and composer of a teen group called "August Band". Although their songs are popular, their producer urges them to compose love songs which would cater to an even bigger audience. "A love song should be easy to write at your age." He declares. But although Mew tries, he could not quite compose a good love song, even with his new neighbor and friend Ying's (who harbors a crush on Mew) silly provocations. ("If you like to know what it's like to have a lover, I can be your girlfriend!" to which Mew merely responded, "You're crazy.")

Tong and Mew's lives begin to intertwine once more when a chance meeting at Siam Square- a popular after-school haunt for teens- sparks Mew's old feelings for his friend. Along with this is Mew's ever-growing feelings of confusion precipitated during close encounters with his male peers. He even asks Tong if he has "something different from other people." To which his friend replies no.

As the boys continue to spend more and more time together, Mew's feelings blossom, enabling him to compose beautiful love songs. In one of the most beautiful and thought-provoking scenes in the movie, the boys lay in bed beside each other, just like when they were young, after a very late practice session. Tong asks Mew how he is, and Mew responds that although his music-playing is fun, he is constantly lonely. Juxtaposed in this sequence are scenes of Tong's mother, who is unaware of his whereabouts, worried sick and driving around the city looking for his son.

Mews narrates how his loneliness started when his grandmother died a number of years ago, and asks: "If we can love someone so much, how will we be able to handle it when we are separated?...Is it possible to love someone and never be afraid of losing them? Is it possible that we can live our entire life without loving anyone at all?"

Meanwhile, August band is assigned a new manager named June, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Tong's older sister. Tong, his mother Sunee, and Mew asks June to play the role of Tang in hopes of getting Tong's father out of depression and alcoholism.

Temporarily, the scheme works and a "homecoming party" for Tang was thrown. In the same party, Mew and his band plays a love song that Mew composed for Tong. As Mew sang, the chemistry between the two boys was palpable and June notices. After the party, sitting beside each other, Tong remarks how beautiful the song was. Mew replies,"Without you in my life, there would be no such song. Do you have anything to say after hearing it?" Tong puts an arm around Mew and kisses his friend. Unfortunately, Sunee accidentally sees the two boys and sulks at this new ordeal: a gay son.

Sunee confronts Mew the following day about his relationship with Tong. Mew insists that they are just friends, but Sunee asserts that whatever relationship the two have, they should stop immediately. Mew is devastated, and avoids Tong and playing with his band altogether.

After a no-show at a recording session, Mew receives a visit from a persuasive June and his band mates. Eventually Mew returns to become part of the band once more, June on the other hand is dismissed from her work as manager of the band.

Tong sorts out his feelings, and while decorating the Christmas tree he uses male and female ornaments to explain his feelings to his controlling mother. Finally Sunee gives her son her blessing to choose what he thinks is best for himself.

On the eve of Christmas, August band is to play at Siam Square. As Tong meets his girlfriend Donut, Mew's song plays on the video screen. Tong finally breaks up with Donut who haughtily walks away, then Tong runs toward the auditorium where the band is playing.

He joins Ying and waves to Mew. Ying glances at the beaming faces of the two boys and finally accepts that she won't have a place in Mew's heart- she quietly slips away. After the performance Tong congratulates Mew. His friend asks him the same question he asked the night they kissed:

"Do you have anything to say after listening to it?" Tong looks his friend in the eye and says: "I can't be with you as your boyfriend... but that doesn't mean I don't love you." He gives his friend a present- a missing piece of the wooden doll. The boys bid their goodbyes and went their separate ways.

Sunee reads a letter from June wishing them well. Tong's family finally comes to terms and accept the fact that their beloved Tang will not return and that they must go on as a family. Back in Mew's room, he puts the last piece in place, on the present Tong once gave him as a child. Just like the toy that was missing a piece, Mew had an emptiness that he felt when he was lonely- but because of his best friend's love, he is whole once more.

The movie ends with Mew saying a tearful "Thank you." as he gazes at Tong's gift.
To all the loves that bring us to life.- The Love of Siam

4 comments:

Obnoxious Queer said...

I'm having the LOS syndrome for months last year! This is a great movie!
http://www.obnoxiousqueer.com/2008/09/02/love-of-siam/

Thadie said...

@ Obnoxious Queer: nice to find a fellow LOS fan-atic hehe.

Man of the Rose said...

Thadie dear,
The last scenes including the one where Tong confessed to Mew his "eternal love" for him and this tearful moment of Mew really made me cry a river everytime I watch it again & again & again...I guess that's the power of love...

MewFanatic said...

@ Man of the Rose: Hi C! Wow na-touch naman ako nag-visit ka hehe Yup, such a great film. Kaya nga one day gusto kong pumunta sa Thailand at makita ang Siam hehe

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