“Barrio Boy” is a self-discovery journey of one barber in Brooklyn

Scene from the movie
Scene from the movie "Barrio Boy."
Scene from the movie "Barrio Boy."
Scene from the movie “Barrio Boy.”

Confident masculinity culture plagues the world. It is the idea that men have to be strong and in charge which really can have a horrible impact on those coming to terms with embracing their same-sex attraction. This can be especially hard for those living in urbanized areas where there is an emphasis on drug and gang culture. Being around others who are so into being the top dog and being a super-strong man can add additional struggles of accepting your sexual identity.

Barrio Boy is a film that follows a young man in Brooklyn named Quique. He works as a barber surrounded by masculine straight men all day. During the summer, he begins falling for a man named Kevin. Kevin is from Ireland, staying at his late parents’ house. Together, as their feelings intensify, they begin to see that not all around their borough will be accepting of this romance. They will have to navigate the struggles of this romance mainly caused by one drug dealer’s horrible homophobia.

The film is filled with so much heart and emotion. It shows, in a way that has not been explored much on film, how hyper-masculine environments really can make it scary for guys to embrace their gay feelings. Kevin and Quique’s connection in the film feels so natural. It is beautiful to see them fall in love despite them being in such a not-gay environment. The part of New York City where the story takes place is no Hell’s Kitchen, so it was really intriguing to see two men form a romantic connection in this type of area.

It is beautiful to see the journey Quique goes on. At times throughout, it is sad to see the homophobia one character has, but ultimately the film focuses on not letting the noise stop these two young men from having a beautiful romance. Seeing that no matter where you come from, there will usually be people who have your back when coming out, was another great aspect of the story. The standout performance was Dennis Garcia as our leading man. His performance definitely deserves praise, especially for such an independent production. The journey he goes on in this film is not an easy one and Dennis does a great job at giving a natural and heartrending performance.

Barrio Boy is a well-done drama. It features a unique setting for a gay romance story and tackles some super important themes. It takes one man’s journey of exploring his sexual identity throughout the summer and transcends it into an impactful piece of art. With a good musical soundtrack added in and some great performances, this is one to definitely add to your watch list.

5/5 stars