Sweet Boy is a Thai BL movie about a high school student entangled in scandalous campus drama. The main character excels academically, but he is inexperienced with romance and slowly navigates his sexuality. In his journey of self-enlightenment, he is faced with savage bullying, lustful desires, and heartbreaking love affairs.
I write this review solely to warn people about Sweet Boy, an abysmal movie that I regretted upon watching it. This disturbing story is the exact opposite of sweet. The film leaves an unpleasant aftertaste with its amateurish writing, problematic tropes, and irresponsible portrayals.
Sweet Boy Summary
1 hour and 45 minutes
Dark and disturbing
Yes, Sweet Boy has BL encounters.
Nack is a teenage student at an all-boys private school. He is academically outstanding and gets excellent grades, only bested by his classmate Toy. Nack is slightly resentful of a Toy, whose wealthy family provides him with private tutoring lessons. In contrast, Nack comes from a single-parent family and doesn't want to ask his working mom to pay for a tutor.
Nack spends each day pretty ordinarily, minding his own business and trying to stay out of trouble. He hangs out with a small circle of friends, which includes Dook, Tey, and To. The four of them play video games, read manga, and do mundane teenage activities. His friends also discuss girls sometimes, although the romantically inexperienced Nack doesn't seem interested in this topic.
Unfortunately, Nack becomes a target of school bullying. The main perpetrator is Pong, a fiercely outspoken gay student. Enabled by his cliques of friends, he picks on Nack all the time. Although Nack denies being gay, Pong seems convinced that his classmate is closeted and has been hiding his sexuality.
Another classmate called Petch begins showing an interest in Nack. The two of them form a friendship over swimming lessons at school. These lessons start out as platonic. However, Nack becomes scandalized when he discovers a secret hookup place at the locker room by the pool. As Nack witnesses other students having sex, it awakens a desire in him that he never acknowledged until now.
Sweet Boy Trailer
Sweet Boy Cast
Nack Chimon Wachirawit Ruangwiwat (ชิม่อน วชิรวิชญ์ เรืองวิวรรธน์) Chimon Instagram
Nack is a teenage student who attends an all-boys private school. He gets excellent academic grades, especially in English. Nack lives with his single working mother, who is deeply religious. They come from a humble home and don't even have internet set up in their house.
Toy Palm Natchakan Raungrong (ปาล์ม ณัชชาคัลภ์) Palm Instagram
Toy is Nack's high school classmate. He is the top student and gets the best grades. Part of his academic success comes from Toy's wealthy family paying for private tutoring lessons. Unlike Nack, Toy hangs out with all the cool kids at school.
Nack's love interest
- The lead actor Chimon is well-known for his role in the 2018 Thai series The Gifted. He also appeared in the 2019 BL drama He's Coming to Me and the 2022 series Never Let Me Go. In case you were wondering, Chimon was around 16 years old when he filmed Sweet Boy.
Sweet Boy Review
Movie Review Score: 2.0
My review of Sweet Boy is straightforward: avoid this movie at all costs. Please don't make the same mistake as I did and watch it out of curiosity. After seeing the name and poster, I wrongly assumed it would be a sweet lighthearted romance between swimmers. I couldn't be more wrong. I felt icky after completing Sweet Boy and almost didn't want to review it. However, I have a moral obligation to stop others from watching this ill-conceived movie.
Sweet Boy is a poorly crafted coming-of-age story that relishes harmful stereotypes, homophobic prejudice, and problematic tropes. It takes a wicked delight in putting the main character through senseless trauma and abuse. Serious topics like school bullying are handled recklessly, eager to sensationalize physical violence and psychological torment without diligence. The edgy drama doesn't succeed in being meaningful or provocative. Instead, each storyline feels insensitive and exploitative.
I hate how this movie portrays its gay characters. As the protagonist Nack discovers his sexuality, he doesn't go on a journey of self-empowerment. Instead, he's constantly belittled, provoked, and tortured. His love interests Petch and Toy have no backbones, the epitome of every weak-minded closeted guy out there. Pong is the worst out of the lot, a distorted caricature that depicts LGBT characters as catty, gossipy, and malicious. While I wouldn't label Sweet Boy as a homophobic movie, it perpetuates distasteful and ignorant gay archetypes.
Of course, Sweet Boy also has to contend with terrible writing that further amplifies its flaws. It suffers from predictable plots, clunky exposition, and one-dimensional characters. The unskilled storyteller is incapable of subtlety or complexity, relying on tired clichés and cheap thrills to sustain interest in the narrative. To be fair, a tiny portion of the movie feels genuinely watchable. The part where Nack engages in a sweet teenage romance is almost decent. Unfortunately, the pleasant vibe gets destroyed by obnoxious drama soon afterwards.
Sweet Boy parades many cast members in speedos, displaying titillating close-up shots of their wet poolside bodies. However, the camera ogles at their bulges so explicitly that the scenes feel crude, sleazy, and gratuitous. Plus, the lead actor Chimon is very young at sixteen years old, raising uncomfortable red flags around the highly sexualized exchanges. Sweet Boy could have told the same story far more tastefully, a sentiment that applies to every aspect of the movie.
In my reviews, I give middling scores to inoffensive BL stories that simply don't excite me. The failing grades are reserved for problematic projects that handle sensitive topics irresponsibly. Sweet Boy falls into the latter category. For an LGBT movie, I'm appalled by its perverse portrayals of gay teenage characters. I'm also disturbed by its toxic approach to mental health and violence. There are very few redeeming qualities to Sweet Boy, a tacky film that I wish to cleanse from my memory.
Sweet Boy is a movie about a teenager exploring his awakened sexuality. Up until now, Nack lived a very sheltered life due to his religious upbringing. He doesn't even have internet in his home, limiting his exposure to much adolescent knowledge. His world is rocked when Nack sees two of his male classmates having sex in the locker room. It evokes sensations that he never realized previously.
Unfortunately, Sweet Boy makes Nack's journey of self-enlightenment stressful to watch by introducing so many obstacles. He is faced with bullies, gossips, sleazeballs, closeted love interests, and a strict homophobic mother. None of these hardships are depicted well, shallow and offensive in their execution. The movie is increasingly unpleasant, highlighting how terrible it is to be a gay teenager with lopsided and exaggerated depictions.
Nack engages in two romances throughout the movie. His first relationship with Petch is a bitter experience. Petch cozies up to him, but he's only interested in sex. Once Nack rejects his sexual advances, Petch quickly replaces him with another willing classmate instead. What makes his character even more reprehensible is that he has a girlfriend, but deceives her while cheating with other guys.
Nack's second relationship with Toy is a little more complex. The storyline starts out weirdly, because Toy chooses to stay anonymous for some reason. However, their teenage romance actually becomes sweet once the characters meet and interact. Sweet Boy didn't seem that bad for a while, redeeming itself with a cute adolescent love story.
Unfortunately, the happiness is short-lived when the movie throws the homophobic mom at the couple. She goes behind her son's back and meddles in the relationship. Toy gets scared, retreats back into the closet, and breaks up with Nack in a nasty manner. Nack has his heart broken again, sending him into a rapid downward spiral and almost committing suicide. Overall, their romance is a terrible experience that will dissuade you from believing in love.
The acting isn't that remarkable and doesn't salvage the terrible quality of the film. The cast members aren't the reasons why Sweet Boy sucks. I would hate for this one bad movie to define the actors' careers, since they're working off a lousy script that limits the performance potential.
Fortunately, the lead Chimon has done pretty well for himself in spite of this movie, enjoying success in more prominent roles. It should be noted that he's rather young in this film, but still carries an impressive maturity in his composed performance.
Sweet Boy has a sad ending where Nack and Toy break up after the meddling from the homophobic mom. She warns Toy to stay away from her son, clearly stating that "he isn't gay" and "neither are you". Soon afterwards, a heated confrontation breaks out between Nack and Toy. As Toy represses his romantic feelings and insists they're just friends, he pushes Nack to the ground.
The breakup sends Nack on a downward spiral and he almost tries to kill himself, only to be stopped by his friends just in time. Due to all the drama, Nack does terribly in his examinations and doesn't make it into university. He spends the next year studying hard and staying away from any romance. He finally passes his exams and moves on to university a year later.
In the final scene, Nack is reunited with Toy on the university campus. However, Toy has found himself a girlfriend. The two former high school classmates exchange cordial interactions and they don't bring up what happened in the past. Toy offers to take him sightseeing and Nack agrees, as they settle for a platonic friendship at the end of the movie.
What an unsatisfying ending. To be clear, I wasn't for the two main characters to end up together. After Nack almost tries to kill himself over Toy's rejection, it's impossible to stay on this ship. I feel like Toy is a rotten part of the past and Nack should've stayed far away from him. Instead, the movie tries pairing the two together and making them friends again, which doesn't seem like a healthy relationship dynamic. Sweet Boy's ending doesn't work for me and it leaves me with a bitter aftertaste.