Gol & Gincu revisited

Gol & Gincu revisited

Available to stream on Viu, the popular Malaysian movie still surprises almost two decades later

REVISITING familiar old movies sometimes feels like walking into a field full of landmines. Tropes, cliches and stereotypes that would have been abused to the point of exhaustion since they first appeared and sitting through the entire movie would be an exercise in sadomasochism.

However, as far as Malaysian coming-of-age movies go, Gol & Gincu still holds a strong place in the local cinematic library and remains as entertaining as it did when it premiered 17 years ago. Given how popular the ‘young adult’ stories has become over the last decade or so, the movie offers equal parts heart and humour as all the other latest releases in the sub genre.

Comparisons to Bend it Like Beckham are inevitable (references are made to it in the movie), but while Gurinder Chadha’s hit classic deals with the British social milieu, Gol & Gincu places the microscope on gender norms and male fantasy.

The movie, which takes place in Kuala Lumpur, tells the story of Putri (Nur Fazura), a dewy-eyed college student and her relationship with longtime boyfriend Eddy (Ashraf Sinclair). Putri likes all things pink, is demure, attentive, and proper – Damansara International School type proper. She dreams of a life with Eddy. However, on the cusp of a trip overseas, instead of a proposal, which she was expecting, Eddy breaks up with her. He felt asphyxiated in the relationship over her constant attention, and their lack of shared interests.

Putri, in an attempt to win him over again, decides to be more athletic, picking up futsal, Eddy’s favourite pastime. She befriends a group of futsal players; two characters of particular interest are Shasha (Sazzy Falak) and Zie (Rafidah Abdullah). Putri immediately gets off on the wrong foot with Shasha, who later turns out to be Eddy’s new girlfriend. Zie, befriends Putri and coaches her and a ragtag group of people. The movie culminates with a football match, and Putri upon winning the title, no longer feels the need to win Eddy’s validation.

Despite hints in the title, the movie does not seem too concerned about the sport itself. In fact, all the scenes that take place on the court are completely uninspired and are merely serviceable. Some of the humour lands flat as well. For instance, during a Rocky-inspired training montage, instead of football cones, teddy bears were used as replacements. Was there a need to infantilise Putri? These shortfalls however do not break the movie, and Nur Fazura dials up the charm playing Putri that it keeps you engaged throughout.

Gol & Gincu was the directorial debut of Bernard Chauly, who has since made a name for himself as a competent filmmaker dealing with Malay soap operas and romantic comedies. Some of the other titles he is known for include Pisau Cukur (2009), Istanbul Aku Datang (2012) and Manisnya Cinta di Cappadocia (2014), often working with the same cast and writer, Rafidah Abdullah, who penned all the screenplays to the films listed above.

The movie was not just a launching pad for Bernard Chauly and Rafidah Abdullah, but other names we have come to know as well, like the late Ashraf Sinclair, serving as his acting debut. He tragically passed away of a heart attack at the age of 40 in 2020.

Looking back at this movie, thus, is tracing back time, and in the canon of Malaysian cinema, marks an evolution in contemporary Malay movies that centre female characters and narratives – Shuhaimi Baba’s Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam and Saw Teong Hin’s Puteri Gunung Ledang were released a year prior.

*Gol & Gincu and its sequel Gol & Gincu Vol 2 are available to stream on Viu

source – The Vibes


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