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  • David Zak

FRONT COVER is a small gem.

FRONT COVER is an overlooked drama from 2015 that subtly reveals much about gay culture and masculinity. The two leads are perfectly mismatched. One is an openly gay American stylist who does not date other Asians; the other is a closeted foreign actor unwilling to admit who he is. Thrown together for a photo shoot, the handsome men navigate a plot with lovely layers revealing much about familial and cultural beliefs.

Jake Choi is terrific as Ryan, a perfectionist in all areas of his life. There is believable repulsion when he meets Ning (James Chen, who is equally fantastic). But the two sexy leads make FRONT COVER a rare treat: a funny drama with two Asian leads. Will this romantic interaction be destructive to one career or two?

Writer/director Ray Yeung’s excellent script and direction are confident and detailed. The production values are exceptional, and I especially liked the score credited to Paul Turner and Darren Morze.

The large ensemble - including Ning’s family, business associates from China, and Ryan’s team at work- are all well drawn, adding to the depth of experience for the viewer.

If you are looking for greater diversity in a film, you won’t go wrong with FRONT COVER. I saw it on Amazon through the Strand Releasing channel.

Beware of spoilers below.

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