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BOOTED OUT of his comfortable suburban house by his father for being gay after being outed by his manipulative stepmother, Ethan Mao, 18, survives on the street as a hustler selling sex to older men. He meets Remigio, 19, a drug dealer and sometime hustler, who befriends Ethan and takes him in. After being tipped off by his younger brother that his family is going on a day trip on Thanksgiving Day, Ethan asks Remigio for a ride to his family house to get some of his belongings and a necklace that belonged to his late mother. Ethan and Remigio break into Ethan's family house, but are caught in the act and believe they have no choice other than to hold his father, stepmother, and bullying stepbrother hostage. In the following increasingly desperate hours, Ethan, his family, and Remigio are forced to confront their unresolved conflicts between each other. As the tension between Ethan and his family escalates, their inner demons and family secrets unravel in this suspenseful drama. Written by
Gay Chinese-American Boy's Struggle in Hollywood-ish Crime Thriller
If being multi-layered and multi-directional is a recent trend of the gay and lesbian cinema, Ehan Mao represents it very well; such a mainstream Hollywood format as a crime thriller frames such a specific argument as a struggle of gay Chinese-American boy Ethan Mao (Jun Hee Lee) against his family members. The excellence on the former must help the film to gain larger audience. The excellence on the latter is enhanced by the dynamics of his family members: successful and confident father, controlling step-mother who is a former actress, "good-boy" older step-brother, and gay-ish younger brother. Along with Ethan's lover Remigio (Jerry Hernandez), all characters are portrayed more or less positively--"feeling-better" may not be needed for this film's viewers; it may even reduce the film's intensity and may make the argument unclear.
One flashback sequence is inserted at a very precise moment, seemingly to confuse the audience--when Ethan and Remigio fall asleep while overseeing Ethan's family at night in the real world, a flashback of their waking up in their apartment appears. This makes the spectators wonder, at least for a moment, if what has been going on is Ethan's dream; if intentional, it is too gimmicky and unnecessary.
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