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Review: 'Hazlo Como Hombre' laughs off stereotypes

Posted Monday, February 12, 2018 at 3:49 PM Central

by John Couture

I'll be completely honest, I haven't watched as many Mexican films as I should have over the years. I love foreign films, but I tend to watch ones from across the pond as opposed to those closer to home.

Hazlo Como Hombre (loosely translated to "Do it Like A Man") might just change that.

The film plays loose and fast with topics such as gay panic and Mexican machismo that might feel a decade out of place, but it presents a fresh reminder that these are still real fears and concerns today. You only have to look out your window or on Twitter to realize that we haven't come as far as we should in abolishing intolerance.

Until we reach that point, films such as Hazlo Como Hombre will always be needed. The film follows a man who comes to realize that he's gay and his best friend has a hard time accepting the news.

One shamefully underrated film on Kevin Kline's resume is 1997's In & Out that tackles similar themes as Hazlo Como Hombre. While the latter film spends more time delving into the male machismo and less time on the comic repercussions of calling off one's wedding, they both confront a culture at a crossroads. The fact that there are 20 years between films only sheds a bit of light on the real struggle of homosexuality in areas where masculinity is as entrenched as it is in places like Mexico.

The role of comedy in breaking down these barriers is important and Hazlo Como Hombre does a great job in balancing this with the serious issues of coming out in a culture where that is still taboo. Just like In & Out in 1997, there were still many years before the LGBT community started to make in-roads in America, but the persistence and increased awareness has paid off.

Of course, homosexuality remains a hot-button issue today and it is constantly under threat, so in many ways Hazlo Como Hombre is a reminder of what is at stake when these newly recognized liberties come under fire. I enjoyed the film because it was a light-hearted look at very real situations that are happening every day.

The film is a Chilean-Mexican co-production and as such, the cast will be largely unknown to a U.S. audience. Of course, with the rise in popularity of Spanish-language films here in America over the last few years, it is quite possible that you will recognize a few of the actors from films such as 3 Idiotas and Amores Perros. Regardless, the quality of the performances is such that it doesn't matter if they are a household name or not. The important thing is the message and that comes in loud and clear.

Hazlo Como Hombre won't change deeply ingrained beliefs overnight, but it is an important step to acceptance that hopefully will result in meaningful change in the near future. Hazlo Como Hombre is now available on DVD.