Meet Raquela. Like many transsexuals in the Philippines, Raquela has dreams and ambitions of being rescued by a man from the west. Spending countless hours on the internet looking for her prince, Raquela finally senses a ray of hope when she lands a job as a webcam host on an international website. Though the owner lives in New York City, he has promised to help her find her man, secretly hoping that it will be he that sweeps Raquela's heart away. Through her numerous connections, Raquela eventually gets to travel far away from her home country, getting the opportunity to embark on a quest that will hopefully end with her finding the man of her dreams.
Though the film lacks action and possessed a few too many dry moments, I give it credit for tackling a unique subject matter that will deter just as many as it will intrigue. The moments are caught in real time, personifying the glory and hardship that consumes Raquela's life, making you feel for her and want the best to result from both her smart and lazy decisions.
More than the topic that is at hand, the film excels on its lead character, Raquela Rios. A self proclaimed 'ladyboy,' Raquela is a personality all her own. From her casual talks about sex and men to her more conservative approaches to"¦well nothing really, we get to know all there is to know about this dreamer. But more than the actual person, the film dives into her habits, her way of life and her all too familiar aspirations. She wants to marry rich, though she strongly states that she is not a gold-digger. She also wants to leave her home; a place that she feels isolates her from the rest of the world. She wants to venture west, marry a man and live the American Dream. She has high goals, ones that many would feel are too high; yet she is willing to do anything to make them come true.
Sadly, for everything that the film does right, it counters with something of equal disappointing measure. The most common occurrence is the mundane moments that are constantly used to fill in the lacking times of Raquela's life. No one's life can be entertaining 24/7; yet, director Olaf Fleur Johannesson tries to make it happen here. In the process, he hurts his film tremendously as it quickly suffers from overexposure; a characteristic that it is never able to overcome.
The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela is more than a film. It is a story about hope, longing, desperation and the joys and headaches that comprise life. It is a truly grounding story that gives you a glimpse into a life that you never thought you would see. And while you may be taken aback by the life style or course of action, you can't help but be mesmerized by the courage and revelations that one person will go through, all on the whim that one day, their biggest dream might come true.