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Papi Chulo 2018 ****

Writer/director John Butler’s Handsome Devil was a try-hard feel-good coming-out story that played to closely to the teen-movie playbook to work; with Papi Chulo, he gets back to basics with a simple, but satisfying story of a gay weatherman who is looking down the wrong end of a recently ended relationship. Given some time off by work, Sean (Matt Bomer) starts a painting job as a bit of therapeutic DIY, and enlists some professional help in the form of Ernesto (Alejandro Patino), a local tradesman. An unlikely friendship blossoms between the two men. But Ernesto is a heterosexual family man, and Sean fears that his feelings are about to be burnt once more. Making good use of LA locations, Papi Chulo is the kind of indie drama that’s worth seeking out; Butler shows genuine empathy with his characters, and although the action is light and amusing, there’s no doubt of the hidden depths that both characters have. Like a good short story, Papi Chulo entertains before reaching a punch-line; while inevitably flagged as gay interest, it’s a film that crosses boundaries in it’s whole-hearted appeal.

 

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