“Country Boy” Movie Review

This astonishing BL series from 2021 was re-released as a movie in 2022. So, now you get the full impact of this brilliant story in one setting. And frankly, it is just as poignant, moving, and charming as the first time I saw it as a series. And I am so glad that I picked it as the “BEST” BL series for 2021. Let me state this as clearly as I can. This is a cinematic masterpiece.

It is a pure work of artistry. I could not believe how much was accomplished in so little time. I have not been moved by a visual production in a long time, but this little gem stole my heart. Why? Because it is so well acted, so well directed, so well written, so well produced, and so well executed – almost flawlessly. There are not enough accolades for this precious nonpareil.

It is a simple story of four friends sitting around in a coffee shop trying to decide how to alleviate their boredom. The four friends are Nabdao, (Mon Wongarisai), Pizza, (Punyakait Boonkerd), Fu (Korakod Thananchai), and Ju (Ryuton Yananthon). They stumble across information about a resort quite a distance from Bangkok in the rural area that is both inexpensive and appears quaint. And so, their journey begins. Nearing where they were to stay, the vehicle transporting them breaks down and they are forced to walk to the place. Finally, they get there, and they realize that the place is pretty ‘rustic’.

They are met with an infectiously happy, smiling, effervescent individual who, by his sheer presence, lights up the room and makes everything look radiant. He wears braces, which makes his whole appearance seem unsophisticated, but there is something so genuine about him. His name is Keptawan, played brilliantly by Puwanart Runapnain (Oak). It is obvious that this resort is in a state of disrepair. However, there is something magical, alluring, and pastorally charming about here that makes these four guys fall in love with the place. They befriend Keptawan, even though his mother has a strict rule about not getting involved with guests as her daughter took off with a guest and she is terrified Keptawan will do the same. Because of his bubbly personality and infectiously positive attitude about life, he treats them with the utmost respect and deference, so you can’t help but to be drawn to him. Although Nabdao is more entranced by him than the others. Keptawan plans and organizes things in a sense that allows these four guys to finally relax.

But underneath the smiles and laughter from Keptawan, his eyes paint a potently different picture. His family has borrowed from a loan shark, and it is time to pay them back. Unfortunately, he has neither the ways nor means to pay the debt and will lose this inherited land, which both he and his mother intensely love and respect. His inner struggles are evident on his face, and it is hard not to react to it with a deep and crushing sadness. He explains the situation to these guys and they are so moved that they decide to spend more time and help him turn the place around. They all happily work to make this place better and to gain more guests so that this place can continue. Inexorably, a strong bond between Keptawan and Nabdao develops. Almost from the beginning, Nabdao seems to sense and feel Keptawan’s pain and love for this rural and rustic place. He too literally falls in love with the surroundings, and perhaps more.

This special bond that they develop is endearing, deep, and almost Zen-like. They become inseparable and share with each other a juxtaposition of intensity on many levels. It is not ‘love’ – yet. It is euphoric to watch their connection and its impact that it had on each of them, culminating with a display of such a striking gesture of bromance at the end. One of the most endearing and memorable scenes is when Keptawan and Nabdao are sitting outside alone watching the sunset and Keptawan asks if he could hug him. It was enchanting and sirenic, and in that brief moment, an apex of cinematic genius emerged. Keptawan says to Nabdao that if he ever wants to see sunshine, he needs to come here. Nabdao says, “Are you asking me to visit you?” Keptawan has become his sunshine. Both felt the nexus of connectedness. I was so profoundly moved by their bond, I cried (again), not out of sadness, but from realizing that I just witnessed on screen a consociate that touched each of their souls.

The screenplay is a masterpiece. It keeps the language simple. The words profound. The thoughts basic. The emotions real without being overly dramatic. The production is just great. The quiet surroundings, the basic simple life, the details of the everyday non-exotic touches to rural life and food made this drama a wonderland of emotions. I felt everything they felt. I tasted the same food they did. I loved the sunrises and sunsets and land the same way they did. I was so immersed myself in this story that I became a part of it. This whole production is pure genius in its simplicity, in its presentation of real-world issues and solutions with REAL people. I could not help but fall in love with this series and call it what it is – a cinematic masterpiece.

Without exception, every individual in this movie/series is superb. It is so obvious that each of them gave their all to this series as it was a “Labor of Love”. And for me, who embodied that completely was Puwanart Runapnain (Oak) as Keptawan. His child-like innocence, sweetness and looking at the world with joy and happiness is a wonder to behold. This could have been almost too Pollyanna, but it never was. I never got an impression that he was faking it, or it was a show that he put on. That is a sign of a great actor. Quiet, forceful, no-nonsense, but eternally optimistic. Yet, his eyes, oh those eyes, always told a different story. In his case, they were indeed a window to his soul, and we could see his internal pain, struggle, and sadness in them. But they never overwhelmed him. He did not have to speak, yet we knew what he was thinking and feeling. It was mesmerizing to watch.

At the end when Keptawan says goodbye to his new friends and he waves to them and says to them to not forget him, he is smiling/laughing. But as he turns, you can see the loneliness in his eyes overwhelm him and his demeanor becomes sad. It is a phenomenal scene that might get lost unless you look for it. It is so subtle. I simply wept at its beauty and meaning. Oak is breathtakingly talented and an excellent actor.

No matter how I might try to convey the impact this nonpareil has, it feels inadequate. Sometimes, for whatever reason, something simple touches your core and your being; it profoundly affects you and deeply moves you. This series (movie) has done that for me. Yet, I still feel as if I have not done it justice. It is by far so much better than most huge budgeted productions. Others should learn from its basic approach to a story by keeping it simple, providing superb direction, and allowing your actors to act. This ought to be the standard and a model for others to emulate!

Watching this now as a movie still completely envelopes me in the story. It is so magical in its simplicity, yet it displays the human spirit in terms of kindness, respect, compassion, empathy, helpfulness, and tenderness. It deeply affects you. I want to live in this world. Sometimes, it seems like destiny comes together and says – let this be so. This whole series/movie is just about an hour or so long, but it shows and tells a story of such magnitude of human gentleness, caring, depth of characters, and yes, even intense love. But it does so with simplicity, grace, elegance, and unfiltered human emotions.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or down, please watch this story of a deeply pensive love. It just might help bring you some serenity.

Rating- 5+ out of 5

4 thoughts on ““Country Boy” Movie Review”

  1. A sweet little series- I would deduct a point for the dark-skinned baddie rent collector .
    On plus sides I have to mention how gorgeous the cinematography is on a small budget. Also how funny Keptawan’s “activities” for the guests are:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that the cinematography was top-notch. I credit Keptawan’s activities as pure Keptawan. Ingenious in its simplicity.

    Like

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