Kiko Boksingero is a simple coming of age tale, but the way it tells this story lends surprising depth to a familiar subject.
The movie trusts its audience to figure things out, reveling in quiet moments, words left unsaid, and implied intentions. This show-don’t-tell cardinal rule of storytelling immediately lifts the crowdpleaser into an engaging heartwarming story.
Kiko Boksingero’s small yet nuanced moments tell us about fatherhood and family without using cliched melodrama. In the opening act, we see Kiko peeping through the gate of a house and letting himself in to practice boxing. Later on, we learn that it’s the house of his estranged father, implied through the interaction between George and Diday. Kiko eventually confirms the truth in an organic way instead of some contrived overdramatic confrontation.
The movie is filled with these subtle dramatic moments balanced with lovely sequences against the backdrop of Baguio.
The cast does a great job in making these moments feel genuine with good performances. Noel Comia Jr. has endearing chemistry with both Yul Servo and Yayo Aguila. George is the family he longs for but took him for granted while Diday is the family that has always been there but is taken for granted.
Kiko Boksingero is more than your average coming-of-age movie, but it’s a typical story with modest offerings. There’s no innovative storytelling that you would come to expect in a Cinemalaya Film Festival.
Still, even if it’s not groundbreaking, the movie’s nuanced execution and thoughtful script are enough to earn it a slot. It also serves as a palate cleanser from all the serious movies in the festival, most of which are stylistically executed to hide its themes from plain sight.
As Kiko learns to let go and stand up for himself, Kiko Boksingero teaches us to separate the idealized versions of our parents in our heads from reality. More importantly, family is not what you have but what you have built.
Kiko Boksinger is a simple, bittersweet and charming crowdpleaser, thanks to a nuanced script and great performances from its cast.