Thursday, February 8th, 2024

Queerguru’s Ris Fatah reviews BARRIO BOY : coming out gay in the macho Puerto Rican ‘hood’ in Brooklyn

Handsome, Brooklyn-born-and-bred, Quique (Dennis Garcia) runs a local barber’s shop, Fade to Famous, with his cousin Rafa (Pierre Jean Gonzalez). They are ingrained into their local Puerto Rican community, a community as nourishing as it is stifling. It’s a very traditional, macho world and this is an issue for Quique who is secretly gay and has fallen for one of his customers, a sexy, happy-go-lucky young Irish man, Kevin (James Physick).

Quique feels trapped by his sexuality and his community and this causes angry outbursts at those around him during the long hot summer in the city. These include his family, co-workers, and men he hooks up with. Brooklyn is rapidly gentrifying with many of the new inhabitants displaying a cultural insensitivity to the existing long-established inhabitants of the iconic NY borough. These people also annoy Quique who is struggling to find his people in his neighbourhood. Kevin, also new to the neighbourhood, is different though, and the two men hit it off, and develop a passionate, sweet relationship. Can Quique keep this secret? How would Quique’s associates react, including his particularly obnoxious cousin Cuz (Keet Davis)?

Written and directed by Dennis Shinners, Barrio Boy has been developed from a previous 2014 short film of the same title. Shinners successfully captures the raw old-school side of Brooklyn, a world away from Williamsburg’s influencers and hip coffee bars. The film is beautifully shot and is equally a message on how suffocating close communities can be, as it is on how urban gentrification can cause upheaval for existing populations. Physick is excellent as the affable, sexy Kevin, who seems oblivious to his attractiveness to people and ends up having sex with both guys and girls almost by default. Teresa Yenque also shines as Quique’s knowing grandmother. Garcia gives a realistic performance as the haunted Quique, whose inner sexual torment oozes from every pore of his skin. With a run time of only eighty minutes, I feel more time could have been spent on the character development of Quique. Overall, however, it’s an intense, engaging film and much-needed queer Latin representation.


Barrio Boy, released by Broken Glass Pictures, is on VOD on most major streaming platforms


Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant  (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah

Posted by queerguru  at  19:53

Genres:  coming out, dramedy, romance

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