25 Great Gay Sex Scenes Saga – Movie # 17: Undertow (2009) (Spanish Title: Contracorriente)

Undertow Cover Image

Title: Undertow (Contracorriente)

Actors:

Cristian Mercado… Miguel

Manolo Cardona… Santiago

Director: Javier Fuentes-Leon

Synopsis: An unusual ghost story set on the Peruvian seaside; a married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town’s rigid traditions.

The Backlot Rating:

Hotness – 10

Romance – 10

WTFactor – 2

Undertow (Contracorriente) is a Peruvian film set in a small town, which initially highlights the secret relationship between Santiago, an openly gay painter who doesn’t actually belong to the town, and Miguel, a closeted husband and expectant father, who is a native of the town, well-known and revered. Less than half an hour into the movie, the story takes a different turn when Santiago drowns, and his ghost becomes trapped in the town, visible and tangible to no one but Miguel. This, in turn, finally allows Miguel the opportunity to love Santiago openly, as the fear of anyone finding out seems to instantly vanish. I must admit that when I learned of the premise of this movie, I was more than a little sceptical about it. After all, while supernatural movies are often amazing and real-life movies the same, it is sometimes difficult to successfully and believably incorporate the supernatural into real-life movies. Take Ghost, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, for instance. I absolutely loved that movie; it was hilarious and thrilling. However, it did tend to head into cheesy not-so-believable territory every now and again. As iconic as this clay-pot-making scene is, it was one of those cheesy scenes, as was the penny moving scene. Now, I’m not ragging specifically on Ghost. I’m just using it as an example. Undertow, however, keeps the supernatural to a bare minimum so that it never really appears forced or incredulous.

My one criticism is directed at an aspect of this movie that is also existent in other movies with the same down-low theme. The love triangle presented in the movie is one that happens very often in real life, where publicly heterosexual married men engage in homosexual acts in secret. Therefore, it is easy to understand the dynamics shown in the movie. However, what isn’t as clear is Miguel’s sexual orientation, and this seems to happen a lot, where we don’t truly get to understand the sexual orientation of the married men. While Santiago is written as obviously gay, there is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to Miguel. Is he gay and just supressing it, as hinted in the movie, or is he bisexual and truly in love with his wife, as once again hinted in the movie? The reason I ask is that, no matter who is chosen in the end, either way someone gets hurt, and not knowing where the middle man (so to speak) sits on the spectrum of sexual orientation feels colossally unfair to whomever is spurned, because more often than not, it turns out to be the gay lover. And this is a recurring theme in these movies… that the gay relationship must always be treated like the invalid half, and it must consequently end in tragedy and/or heartbreak.

When it comes to the positives of Undertow, I absolutely sing its praises. The plot was magnificent and the acting was amazing! Cristian Mercado seriously has the most adorable smile. I also thought this movie was very reminiscent of Eyes Wide Open, and it’s just another example of how the foreign films on this list are seriously trumping the North American ones. The irony between the two situations of Santiago and Miguel was perhaps the most brilliant aspect of the movie. While Santiago was dead and invisible to everyone else, Miguel has never been more alive, and this becomes obvious to those around him. Although Santiago’s spirit is unable to move on, trapped in the town, Miguel experiences a freedom that he never had before. It’s unfortunate that it took Santiago dying for Miguel to truly love him in a way that was truest to them both but despite its tragic spin, Undertow offered us a really sweet love story.

A los latinos que leen esta crítica (especialmente a los Peruanos) yo les quiero decir que sinceramente me encantaba esta película. Siempre he querido incluir una sección española en esta blog, pero nunca sabía cómo hacerlo y de qué debería hablar. Pero yo les amo muchísimo, bienvenidos a Elitosphere y gracias por visitar.

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