How many times have you told yourself that a movie has captured the essence of what really is going on in reality? How many times have you seen a movie that perfectly describes a particular journey? How many times have you told your friends or relatives that there is this particular movie out there that fully grasps the essence of what you love doing the most?
Seldom do we appreciate a movie based on its grounded take on what is really happening with our respective lives. More often than not, we see movies as a gateway to escape certain circumstances. Seldom do we appreciate a movie that is real, heartfelt, and close to our hearts because the scenes that completed the movie reflect that of our own episodic mishaps as well.
If you are engaged in the study or practice of law, it is most likely that you have heard or even watched Kip F. Oebanda’s Bar Boys. Set up in tackling the life of four law students in their journey to become the lawyers they dreamed of, Bar Boys not only perfectly portrays the life and struggles of a law student in his or her academic life but also several factors affecting their respective studies.
It is safe to say that law school will mainly be about the struggles of a law student in his or her academics because of the kilometric reading assignments, the mountains of jurisprudence that need to be understood, the unending list of assigned codal provisions, and several annotations that need to be read and mastered as well. However, as Bar Boys has clearly depicted, the life of a law student does not solely revolve around the study itself.
Indeed, the quote “there is more to life than law” was personified in the aforementioned movie. Accordingly, the same shows how law students are humans too, even if people regard them as the brightest of minds, they still fail to make ends meet from time to time. It is and will always be a cycle of struggle, problems, short-term solutions, and pain all rolled into a single yet repetitive loop until one escapes the wraths of law school.
However, unlike any other movie that discusses in full the experience of a law student in the hell hole that is law school, Bar Boys gives us a glimpse as to how ordinary students of the law go on with their daily lives. There is no giant struggle in play. The struggle that needs to be faced is that which is experienced from within—that which our main characters created for themselves as well.
And while telling the narrative along the way, I realized a significant change with respect to the tone and how the story is delivered—on how each character has his respective arcs that need to be attended to. Bar Boys just made me realize that the movie wasn't a portrayal of law school itself—it was an experience.
A few years ago, I watched the movie for the first time along with some of my friends in law school. If my memory serves me right, the same would be my sophomore year in law school. Excited like kids in a candy store, we have waited a long time for us to be able to watch the movie together. All of us were in agreement—the movie depicted how tedious and taxing law school is. We even saw ourselves in some of the characters. We laughed at every law school experience there was. We felt for their struggles. We smiled for their success. All the while, I thought of the movie as a simple narrative with one known conclusion—everyone will eventually surpass their personal problems and be a member of the Bar.
But as I watched the movie again (many thanks to Direk Kip's initiative and to his team), I realized that Bar Boys was meant to be something more.
Watching it hits different this time.
One will realize that law school is a journey that is not meant to be traversed alone. In which, you'll need your family. In which, you'll need your friends. And while I thought of myself as one of the characters in the said movie, I was wrong. Torran, Chris, Erik, and Josh cannot be singled out. They are characteristics of a law student just broken down for specification.
Torran (played by Rocco Nacino) is the angst in all of us—that which keeps us afloat in times of distress. It is our confidence. It is our positive mindset. It serves as the foundation wherein our positive mindset rests. Torran is the embodiment of how law students are somewhat confident with the things they do and how they do it because of their respective knowledge of the law. However, such confidence at times comes to a fault. As can be reviewed from the movie itself, Torran had himself a hard time in order to cope with external factors like allegiance, conscience, and doubts.
Chris (played by Enzo Pineda), on the other hand, is the reason why we keep on going. It is our drive to prove that we are the best on what we do, no matter how we do it. It is the reason why we pursue our dreams—not only for ourselves but for our loved ones as well. This is also the embodiment of our brilliance. While it is one of our greatest assets, the same serves as a hindrance as well in deciding on how to fully balance our lives. Sometimes, we are at a standstill and indecisive as to what we need to pursue according to our conscience.
Erik (played by Carlo Aquino), safe to say, is the most relatable character of all. It is the culmination of almost everything in law school. The hardships of being underprivileged, the sacrifices of our loved ones, and the fact that he is just your average law student who tries to survive law school one day at a time. It is the reason that makes us try harder because of those supporting us. It is the anchor in our life. It is the North Star that guides us. It is the moral compass that points towards the right direction in our lives.
Lastly, Josh (played by Kean Cipriano), represents our life outside of law. It is the love for other things. It is our sanity break in this world of legal jargons. It is our life beyond the world we have chosen. As mentioned, law school is not everything. We need to have for ourselves a break or two from time to time. It serves as the reminder that while law school demands the best of our attention, we cannot function correctly if we will be forgetting our life outside law school.
The road to one's success in the Bar was never meant to be a straight path. It has its curves. It has its humps. It has its broken roads along the way. More importantly, no path is similar with that of another. All we could do is try our best in traversing our own path with the help of those who believe in us.
While watching Bar Boys hits a little harder at this point in law school, it’s a necessity nonetheless. Law students must be reminded from time to time of who they are, what they do, and who is with them up until it's all said and done. Bar Boys serves as a reminder to all those engaged in the study of law that one cannot survive law school alone. Success in the study (and even in the practice) requires help from one another. Accordingly, the same movie teaches us that there is and will always be a reason why things happen.
At the end of the day, Bar Boys will be remembered not just as a movie. It will be the narrative that echoes what law school really is, and how law students handle the same.
Full link of the movie here: