A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film offers an unsparing portrait of young men who escape military conscription and cross the border into Thailand, where they can only find jobs as sex workers. The movie also confronts government repression, and how people who protest the government tend to go "missing."
Positive Role Models
Two young men and a young woman forced into making a living as sex workers do the best they can.
Empathetic and thoughtful presentation of sex workers and drag queens working in the Chang Mai province of Thailand.
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Violence & Scariness
One of the lead characters who goes missing is revealed to be dead, wrapped in barbed wire and stuffed inside a shipping barrel before the barrel is tossed into a river. A character is shot in the shoulder. Gunshots. Human trafficking is discussed, and concern with human trafficking in Thailand is a central issue in the movie. A man handcuffed to a beam is beaten up and killed by three cops.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Male nudity, buttocks. Two men -- a male sex worker and an undercover cop posing as a customer -- are shown in bed together, kissing with no clothes on as one of the men asks "bottom or top?" Man and woman are shown in bed having sex. The opening scene is in a strip club where male sex workers strip on stage, revealing buttocks and penises.
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Language throughout: "f--k," "bulls--t," "a--holes," "bastards," "son of a bitch," "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarette smoking. Martini drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Doi Boy is a 2023 Thai drama in which a refugee in Thailand becomes a sex worker and becomes ensnared in a risky plot hatched by one of his customers. The lead characters are either sex workers or clients of sex workers. The opening scene is in a strip club where the male sex workers strip on stage for potential customers -- nudity. Sex scenes between men and between a man and a woman. The movie also centers on political repression in Thailand, as some people go "missing," and a man who protests the government is shown handcuffed and beaten to death by three undercover cops. A character is shot in the shoulder with a gun. One of the lead characters who goes missing is revealed to be dead, wrapped in barbed wire and stuffed inside a shipping barrel before the barrel is tossed into a river. Language throughout, including "f--k." Smoking and drinking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a powerful and unsparing portrait of the lives of refugee sex workers in the Chang Mai province of Thailand. Doi Boy presents these characters with tremendous empathy, and there is an undercurrent of anger as the movie addresses the plight of refugees from Myanmar, human trafficking, and protestors against the government who go "missing." It's a sad story, but, perhaps surprisingly, there are moments of joy in the middle of the characters' struggles to survive, struggles with bureaucracy, and struggles with police.
The themes and messages intertwined with the story are masterfully presented, devoid of heavy-handed preachiness or mawkish victimhood. It is a movie not easily forgotten, a glimpse into the lives of those most likely to become targets of human trafficking. It's also a rewarding viewing, as the layers of complexity reveal themselves as the story takes off. It gives the viewer a lot to think about for days after watching it.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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