Actors: Chesther Chua, Benedix Ramos
Format: Digital series
Premise: Two boys go on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance when their love and passion for cooking bind them together in a bittersweet romance
Why You Should See It
Purok 7 Director Carlo Obispo casts social media influencers Chesther Chua and Benedix Ramos in a sweet and tender story about young love, friendship, and self-discovery, deeply anchored upon the lead characters’ passion for food that serves as the narrative’s most potent driver to push a blossoming romance forward.
For a budding young vlogger, dealing with responsibilities is best carried out by not taking them too seriously. Indeed, pranking his best friend for everyone to see serves as a subtle relief for Kian (Chesther Chua) who comes home to his family’s vacation house in a scenic Laguna town. His childhood best friend, Aron (Benedix Ramos) loves to cook and prepares him the dishes he loves, only to be pranked by Kian who pretends he doesn’t recognize who he is, a show he easily shrugs aside in a billiards match.
For Obispo, the task to make Kian and Aron work as a young romantic pair isn’t as straightforward as sprinkling some magical granules to come up with a sumptuous dish. In Better Days, he has to mind the two newbies’ inexperience and lack of artistic foresight to navigate their characters with ease. Although arguably Kian and Aron aren’t as complex as any debuting actors may be asked to play, their motivations are emotionally rich and layered, and thus might require Chua and Ramos further encouragement. Here, to Obispo’s credit, Kian and Aron are magically transformed into an unmissable ingredient, mixed with a simple yet aesthetically and emotionally-defined plot that reminds audiences of that familiar taste of being in love for the first time.
Arriving at an already boys-love-inundated market, Better Days is faced with the job of pleasing audiences who may already be having genre fatigue, as boy’s love titles have been sprouting since the starts of the pandemic. Better Days’ fate may ultimately rely on how the narrative will roll out, and how viewers’ whose BL bingewatch lists are already bloated, will see its virtues. However, finding its place in the burgeoning Pinoy boys’ love cornucopia doesn’t seem to be that challenging, as showrunners find ways to set Better Days apart from other BL series.
While many other entries to the genre seem to love showcasing characters solely for their visual appeal, Better Days banks on the innocence and inexperience of both Chua and Ramos to breathe Kian and Aron to life, lending the much-needed flavor to turn their bittersweet journey to finding themselves in each other’s arms, endearingly affectionate. Admirably, how Kian and Aron’s relationship crystallizes into something fonder and intimate isn’t through the extravagant display of flesh and the characters’ carnal tendencies, but through powerful suggestions of the characters’ yearning for love. Comfort, and protection, from the churning storms that keep their hearts weary. Kian’s promise to never leave Aron again after finding out how he lived in sadness, in his absence, offers a glimpse of how these two souls will ultimately find refuge in each other when the next disaster arrives.
Better Days streams a new episode every Friday night on UnFramed Film’s YouTube Chanel