“Bus Stop” Movie Review

Perhaps merely a coincidence, but this short paragon of a production is the same name as a 1956 film starring the iconic Marilyn Monroe. (If you are unaware of who she is, Google her- I remember her vividly). While not necessarily the same plot, its underlying message is exactly the same. RESPECT. And respect is what gives this strikingly beautiful parable its own sense of worth and beauty.

This BL is so focused on character and personality that you lose sight of its rawness. It feels innocent, perhaps naïve, and a bit Pollyanna. I, by my very nature, am cynical and wanted to tear this short apart for its credulity and rather child-like approach to love. Yet, based on the strength of the story, the screenplay, and the acting, I found myself immersed in their world of reality and wanted for them the same thing they wanted. Despite all the odds, love can be! This beautiful piece of cinema made me see that. It is as close to an apotheosis as one can get. To say that I was transfixed would be an understatement.

The story begins innocuously enough. A young man making noodles in his small kitchen. His name is Htoo Winn Bo (Kaung Zan Hein), Bo for short. He seems a bit apprehensive as we learn that he has asked someone to spend the night with him. Immediately, our minds begin to wonder why, as he is so young, handsome, and seems ‘normal’. Why would he want to spend a night with a paid sex worker? In comes a handsome, still young man named Ko Okki Min Khant (Vita Min), Ko for short. Apparently, Bo has been deeply and profoundly in love with Ko. Not knowing how and why actually, Bo saw his picture and something about him touched his core, his spirit, and heart. Almost immediately, he tells Ko that he is in love with him, and does he believe in love at first sight? Ko, a seasoned and experienced sex worker, is surprised by such sensitivity, vulnerability, passion and is desperate not to be taken in by that. But he seems to sense and feel that Bo is genuine. No matter what Ko says, how he says it, or his reasons for why this will not work, Bo remains himself. No matter how Ko explains how easy it is to fall in love, love does not always contain happiness. It comes with flaws and problems too. Besides, he is an individual that is for ‘common use’ and literally deserves no respect and if he remains with him, will get none himself.

Bo’s resolute is unshakeable and if it did not come from the heart, it would feel meaningless. But he looks at Ko and softly, gently, with tears, explains why he is so in love with him. He has earned his respect and will be by his side. His love is unshakeable. Does it make sense? No. Is this real? With every fiber of my being, I felt it was.

Across from them, there is a homeless man lying on the bus stop bench. Bo explains to Ko that during the day, that bench becomes a dumping ground for people to use, put their shoes on, garbage, rain, and dust, making it unclean. Yet, in the evening, for this man all alone, it is his source of warmth and comfort and a place to lay his head. He softly weeps, looking at Ko and says with a sincerity and conviction that made me tremble, “[Like that bench], you are my resting place that gives me warmth enough.” What follows transcends any words I could use to describe its poignancy. All I can tell you is that I sobbed. I sobbed uncontrollably at a visceral level. What cinematic beauty!

The two actors, Kaung Zan Hein and Vita Min brought something to their roles that you rarely see anymore. A complete and total understanding of who they were playing. They knew their characters, their hearts, personalities, and souls. They meshed so profoundly with their characterizations that I felt them come through to the screen to me. I have not seen such breathtaking depth to roles as these two young men put on screen. I felt all their emotions. I knew them even though I do not. Nothing is over the top here. It is just solid acting with an astonishing screenplay and a story for the ages. These will no doubt be the most memorable performances I have seen, perhaps this year. They are that good. If there was such a thing as a believability rating, it would give it 10+.

Is this brief video flawless? Oh, God no. Its production is occasionally very bad, which distracts from the whole thing. Sound at times is atrocious and uneven. Editing is not so great. And the superfluous background noises, sometimes almost drowning out the dialogue, drove me to distraction and, in a couple of places, completely ruined the mood of the scene. That is all fixable and repairable. And for me, forgivable. I measure a BL by its overall worth and effect on me and if it touches me. This BL just does not touch you, it awakens you to see that all of us have worth and deeply need respect if we are going to change.

Simply, Bo loves unconditionally. He shows that. In fact, he lives it. It is indeed enough to change another human being to be better. Love does that. What a story to tell.

I wish I could force this stunning BL to be required viewing. It is a story of one young man’s indistinguishable amity for a marginalized person, gives him love, and the world changes. Or at least my world did by watching this, dare I say, BL treasure.

Please watch. Ignore or compartmentalize its production issues. More than watching it; feel it. It just might change you, too.

Rating- 5 out of 5

Streaming on-

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