East Side Story

Carlos Portugal
Called a "feel good movie" by its fans, this appealing debut film of director Carlos Portugal suffers from no freshman errors, as Portugal confidently tells the story of Diego (played by the wonderful and charming René Alvarado), a young, closeted Latino, who helps his grand-mother (standout Irene DeBarri) run the family restaurant while carrying on a clandestine relationship with equally closeted Pablo (the delightful David Beron). Diego has long felt trapped by the conservative culture of East LA and plans to move away and open an upscale restaurant, hopefully with his lover. But Pablo views their situation very differently - a point driven home when he begins dating Diego's spirited Aunt Bianca (hilarious sexpot Gladise Jimenez). At the same time, white gay men like Jonathan and Wesley are moving in, gentrifying the neighborhood. The attraction between Wesley and Diego is immediate and electric, forcing both men to reexamine their state of affairs in this entertaining comedic drama.A "coming out" story that avoids all the tired cliches and stays committed to telling the stories of these characters, East Side Story examines bias of all kinds and features stirring performances by incredibly attractive actors. This story sweetly appeals to the romantic impulses of us all, gay and straight.


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