marupok a+

Marupok A+ Is For The Marites Who Wants The Tea On *THAT* Viral Catfishing Thread

Manloloko son or marupok daughter?

Come for the story, stay for the great acting courtesy of EJ Jallorina, Royce Cabrera, and Maris Racal.

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If you were on Twitter during the early days of the pandemic, you probably remember the thread about a transgender woman’s experience getting catfished by her ex-boyfriend and cousin. It went massively viral as people couldn’t believe how insane the story was. It read like the plot of a movie. Well, a few years later, that thread has been adapted into an actual movie called Marupok A+ (Where Is The Lie)

It follows Janzen Torres (EJ Jallorina), a hopeless romantic who goes on a dating app and matches with the seemingly perfect Theo Balmaceda (Royce Cabrera). On the day of their first date, Janzen gets ghosted. But the games don’t stop there as what follows is an intricately-planned web of deceit, lies, and catfishing. It turns out that Theo was not real and Janzen was just being catfished by Beanie Landridos (Maris Racal), a sociopathic director who is lowkey unhinged. 

After spending the past year screening at international film festivals abroad, Marupok A+ has finally gotten a commercial release in the Philippines. So, is this adaptation of a thread that got us through the first lockdown worth it? While the movie is a fun and juicy time, going beyond that, it leaves something to be desired. We rounded up a few things we love (and didn’t) about the film to give you a better sense if it’s worth your hard-earned bag. 



Marupok A+ is driven by its three lead characters: Janzen, Theo, and Beanie. The movie won’t work if these three characters aren’t worth following. Luckily, EJ Jallorina, Royce Cabrera, and Maris Racal hit the mark with their exceptional acting. Jallorina gives Janzen this lovestruck and optimistic energy that makes you want to follow her and her journey to find true love. Admittedly, Janzen makes some dumb decisions on her end, but Jallorina plays the role in such a way that you still want to root for her. 

Cabrera embodies Theo who, while being somewhat stereotypical of the nice but dumb male lead part of the common folk, proves to have a lot more depth as he’s both a victim and enabler in this story. Racal, meanwhile, absolutely nails it as Beanie with how she’s so comfortable in Beanie’s quick-witted but manipulating way of thinking. 

There’s an unbridled confidence in Beanie that Racal brings naturally to the role. You’re going to love to hate her fr. It can almost feel like this is Beanie’s story more than Janzen’s at times. Beanie is undoubtedly the bad guy, but Racal’s charisma and the character’s significant screen time make it feel like it’s also Beanie’s tale to tell. These actors bring sharp performances as three distinct personalities that work well when brought together. Special mention also goes to Gabby Padilla who chomped her role as Dina, Beanie’s partner-in-crime.


If reading the Twitter thread was already engaging, the movie adaptation retains that energy. Marupok A+ is a relatively short but entertaining dark comedy that keeps up the momentum from start to finish. The movie’s comedic take on most of its events makes for an enjoyable viewing experience. This energy is also aided by Quark Henares’ dynamic directing that keeps the pace moving and tethered to an almost Gen Z vibe that understands the zeitgeist.   

The movie gives each lead character their own platform to be the narrator of the story; Janzen with her TikTok videos, Beanie with a livestream, and Theo through an online interview, giving each side their perspective on the unfolding events. Also, Marupok A+ isn’t afraid to go there when it comes to its more mature content and subject matter, with a phone sex scene being a highlight. It’s not hard for Marupok A+ to get your attention as the lie spirals out of control. 



Beyond the wild ride of the movie’s plot and the thread it was based on, it needs to be said that this is a true story that happened to an actual transgender woman in the Philippines. Until now, the trans community still faces many forms of discrimination. Janzen’s story is just one of many transwomen who deal with harassment, and the movie doesn’t forget this. 

If the first half focused more on the actual events of the thread, the second half weaves in the message of the dangers experienced by the trans community and how they do not deserve to be treated like that. Admittedly, the comedic tone does dampen somewhat the seriousness of Beanie’s actions as Janzen’s misfortunes are played for laughs rather than a serious issue. 

But at least the film does try to take it home to a higher purpose by the end. It’s a sad reminder that somehow, somewhere, crazy and opportunistic people exist who are willing to go to great lengths to satisfy their prejudices. This movie also teaches us that the community’s fight is also our fight worth supporting. 


Marupok A+ has something to say about the thin line between lying and having pure intentions. But that doesn’t mean it always translates on screen. In particular, some of Beanie’s motivations and actions are more questionable than calculated. It’s established early on that Beanie’s hatred for the trans community stems from being bullied as a kid. Yet, on multiple occasions, Beanie shows remorse for treating Janzen badly, to the point where she even offers her a place to stay in Manila after Theo breaks up with her (that was on Beanie’s order, btw). 

This oscillation between compassionate bestie to transphobic baddie, especially when not explained well, doesn’t really work. Then again, it also plays into the theme of deceiving people and who is right or wrong when only you can trust yourself.   



When it comes to getting the drama of the Twitter thread, Marupok A+ gets the job done. But beyond that, it stumbles when it tries to do more. Yes, we do get some scenes that flesh out the story and an epilogue that explains what happened to the trio since, but it rarely goes beyond that. 

There really isn’t a deep dive into who these people are or why they do what they do, leaving it up to the audience to decipher and read between the lines. It could have done more when it came to parts like getting to really know Janzen and letting her story and its important lessons take center stage.  

Overall, Marupok A+ is a dark comedy that knows how to have fun. Sure, it stumbles at parts and sometimes doesn’t really go into the danger of certain characters’ actions, but it hits the mark with strong acting and snappy energy. It’s a comedic, mature, and brisk watch about an actual exploitative catfishing experience that isn’t so funny when you think about it. 

Marupok A+ is now showing exclusively in Ayala Malls cinemas nationwide. 

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