Ten-year old Mew and Tong are neighbors.Tong wants to befriend Mew and his outgoing neighbor are not initially close. At school, effeminate Mew is teased by several other students until Tong steps in to defend him. Tong receives injuries and they begin a friendship. Mew plays on his late grandpa's piano and is joined by his grandma, who begins to play an old Chinese song.She explains that one day, Mew will understand the meaning of the song.
Tong's family goes on vacation to Chiang Mai and his older sister, Tang, begs her mother to allow her to remain with friends several days longer. Tong buys Mew a present, deciding to give it to Mew piece by piece in a game similar to a treasure hunt. One by one, Mew finds all of the pieces except for the last one which is hidden in a tree that is cut down just as Mew is about to retrieve it Tong is disappointed at their misfortune, but Mew remains grateful for Tong's efforts.
Tong's parents are unable to contact Tang in Chiang Mai, and go there to look for her.Tong, devastated that his sister is missing, cries and Mew tries to comfort him. Tong's parents are unable to find Tang, and the family decides to move to Bangkok.
Six years pass. Tong's father Korn is a severe alcoholic, due to his guilt for losing his daughter. Tong has a pretty—but uptight—girlfriend, Donut. Tong and Mew are reunited during their senior year of high school at Siam Square. The musically talented Mew is the lead singer of a boy band called August. The meeting stirs up old feelings that Mew has harbored since boyhood.
The manager of Mew's band, Aod, says they must write a song about love in order to sell more records. He assigns them a new assistant manager, June, who coincidentally looks identical to Tong's missing sister. When Tong eventually meets her, he and his mother, Sunee, devise to a plan to hire June to pretend she is Tang, in hopes that it will pull Korn out of his alcoholic depression.
Mew is also the object of an unrequited crush from a neighbour girl, Ying.Mew is more interested in his boyhood friend Tong, who has become his inspiration for writing the new love song.
As part of the deception with "Tang," a backyard party is held in honor of her return, and Mew's band provides the entertainment. Singing the new love song for the first time in public, Mew's eyes lock intensely with Tong's. After the party, the two boys share a prolonged kiss. Unseen, Sunee accidentally witnesses their kiss. The next day, she firmly commands Mew to stay away from her son. Mew is heartbroken and loses his musical inspiration, so he quits the band.
Korn's alcoholism leads to a liver condition which sends him to a hospital. June questions the effectiveness of the "Tang" ruse, noting that Korn has not reduced his alcohol consumption. She leaves. After she leaves, Korn starts eating more and begins takes his liver medication.
At Christmas time, as Tong and his mother are decorating their Christmas tree, he shows her how controlling she is.
Tong goes to Siam Square for a date with Donut. Mew has rejoined the band, and they are playing nearby. Tong abandons Donut and rushes to see Mew sing and is guided there by Ying, who has accepted the fact that Mew loves Tong. After the performance, Tong gives Mew his Christmas gift, the missing nose from the wooden doll that Tong gave him when they were children. Tong then tells Mew, "I can't be your boyfriend, but that doesn't mean I don't love you."Mario Maurer as Tong
Witwisit Hiranyawongkul as Mew
Kanya Rattanapetch as Ying
Chanidapa Pongsilpipat (Aticha Pongsilpipat) as Donut
Chermarn Boonyasak as Tang/June
Sinjai Plengpanich as Sunee, Tong's mother
Songsit Rungnopakunsri as Korn, Tong's father
Artit Niyomkul as young Mew
Jirayu La-ongmanee as young Tong
Marketed as a typical teen romance between boys and girls, the gay aspect of the love story was controversial.
Thai-language web boards were posted with messages of support, as well as accusations by moviegoers that they were misled into watching "a gay movie."
Writer/director Chookiat Sakveerakul admitted the film was marketed on the film posters and in the film's previews as a straight romance because he wanted it to reach a wider audience.
"The movie is not all about gay characters, we are not focusing on gay issues, we are not saying, 'let's come out of the closet,' so obviously, we don't want the movie to have a 'gay' label," he said in an interview.
But the director confirmed the mixed reaction of audiences. "I went incognito to a movie theater and observed the audience. I didn't expect such a strong reaction. Maybe I was just too optimistic that homophobia in Thai society had subsided."
Love of Siam was released in Thai cinemas on November 22, 2007, opening on 146 screens. It was the No. 1 film at the Thai box office that weekend, topping the previous No. 1 film, Beowulf. It slipped to No. 2 the following weekend, unseated by the comedy film, Ponglang Amazing Theater. In the third week of release, it had dropped to No. 5, with to-date box office takings of US$1,198,637. It has grossed a total of US$1,305,125 to date.
The film was officially released in Taiwan on September 19, 2008, Japan on May 20, 2009, and in Singapore on July 16, 2009. It reached No. 12 at the Taiwan box office in opening week.
Love of Siam was received with critical acclaim upon its release.
Bangkok Post film critic Kong Rithdee called the film "groundbreaking", in terms of being the first Thai film "to discuss teenagers' sexuality with frankness". He praised the mature, realistic family drama aspects of the film, as well as the solid performances, particularly by Sinjai Plengpanich as the mother Sunee.
Another Bangkok Post commentator, Nattakorn Devakula, said the film contained important lessons for Thai society. "The point that the film attempts to teach viewers – and a largely conservative Thai society – is that love is an evolved form of emotional attachment that transcends sexual attraction of the physical form."
A reviewer for The Nation called the film "brilliantly conceived".
A few critics found fault with the film, among them Gregoire Glachant of BK magazine, who commented that "The Love of Siam isn't a very well shot movie. Chookiat's camera only records his dull play with equally dull angles and light as it wanders from homes to schools, to recording studio, and to Siam Square without sense of purpose or directions."
The movie also reached a rating of 8.0 (out of 10) on the Internet Movie Database.
Love of Siam dominated Thailand's 2007 film awards season, winning the Best Picture category in all major national film award events, including the Thailand National Film Association Awards, Starpics Magazine's Starpics Awards, the Bangkok Critics Assembly Awards, Star Entertainment Awards, and Kom Chad Luek Newspaper's Kom Chad Luek Awards. Awards won by the film include the following:
The film was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Mario Maurer) and Best Composer (Kitti Kuremanee) categories in the Asian Film Awards at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, but did not win.
In October 2008, Mario Maurer won the Best Actor award in Southeast Asian film category at the 10th Cinemanila International Film Festival.
Love of Siam is Thailand's submission to the 81st Academy Awards.
The film was first shot on December 26, 2006, taking advantage of the Christmas lights and decorations of Siam Square and the surrounding area.
Love of Siam is unusual among Thai films in many respects. First, at 150 minutes, the film is markedly longer than most other Thai films, and second it is a drama film, which is rare in the Thai industry, which mainly produces horror, comedy, action, and (heterosexual) teen romance films. Director Sakveerakul said he felt the longer running time was needed to more fully develop all the characters and the story. He received full backing for this decision from producer Prachya Pinkaew and the production company, Sahamongkol Film International. "They liked the first cut, which was even longer, so I didn't need to convince them that much. I feel that every minute of the movie is important, and I'm glad the audience will be able to see it in full," Chookiat said in an interview before the film's release. A nearly three-hour "director's cut" was released in January 2008 exclusively at the House RCA cinema, and it played for several weeks of sold-out shows.
The film was a departure for Chookiat, who had previously directed the horror film, Pisaj and the psychological thriller, 13 Beloved.
The gay romance was also unusual, in that it involved two "straight acting" boys. In most Thai films with gay characters, gay men are coarsely depicted as trans women or transvestites with exaggerated effeminacy.
The young actors portraying Mew and Tong both had difficulties with the kissing scene. Mario Maurer, who portrayed Tong, was nervous about the role. "I've never kissed a man and kissing is not something you do every day," he said in an interview. "My father said it was just a job and not to think about it too much."
Witwisit Hiranyawongkul, who portrays Mew, accepted the role because it was challenging and because he was interested in working with the director, who was a senior classmate at Montfort College in Chiang Mai.
An original soundtrack album was released on November 12, 2007, ahead of the film's release. The two-disc package features a CD with music tracks by Chookiat Sakveerakul, Witwisit Hiranyawongkul, the August band, Passakorn Wiroonsup and Flure, and a VCD. The album proved popular, and had sold out of many shops in the weeks after its release. "Gun Lae Gun" spent seven weeks at number one on Seed 97.5 FM's charts.
Tagline: "Just ask yourself who you think of when you are listening to love song."Disc 1 (CD)
Disc 2 (VCD)
- "Gun lae gun" ("กันและกัน") – performed by Suweera Boonrod (Flure) – 4:34
- "Ticket (Day Trip)" – performed by Chookiat Sakveerakul & August Band – 3:34
- "Roo suek barng mhai" ("รู้สึกบ้างไหม") (Live) – performed by Witwisit Hiranyawongkul – 4:16
- "Pieng ter" ("เพียงเธอ") – performed by Witwisit Hiranyawongkul – 4:12
- "Gun lae gun" ("กันและกัน") (Acoustic version) – performed by Chookiat Sakveerakul – 6:20
- "Kuen aun pen niran" ("คืนอันเป็นนิรันดร์") – performed by Passakorn Wiroonsup – 3:07
- "Gun lae gun" ("กันและกัน") (Live) – performed by Witwisit Hiranyawongkul – 6:02
- "Roo suek barng mhai" ("รู้สึกบ้างไหม ") (Original Mix) – performed by Witwisit Hiranyawongkul – 5:00
- "Pieng ter" ("เพียงเธอ") (Demo) – performed by Chookiat Sakveerakul – 4:23
- "Ticket (Night Trip)" (Bonus Track) – Instrumental – 3:50
- Love of Siam trailer
- "Gun lae gun" music video
- Introducing the August band
- "Gun lae gun" behind-the-scenes music video
The standard DVD was released on February 19, 2008 in anamorphic widescreen format with Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround audio tracks and a commentary by the director. The DVD includes music videos, trailer and a photo gallery.
The three-disc director's cut DVD was released on April 9, 2008. Discs 1 and 2 contain the 173 minutes director's cut of the film. Disc 3 includes a trailer, a film documentary, deleted scenes, a "Making Of", character introductions, a live concert, an interview with the songwriter and the complete theatrical version with an on-screen commentary by the director.
In addition, an audio CD, a wooden doll, postcards, the letter and a note of Gun lae gun are featured in a limited DVD Boxset.
Love of Siam was released as a Collector's Edition 3-disc set in Taiwan on January 21, 2009. This edition duplicates the Thai three-disc director's cut DVD and adds an exclusive extra of the director's and stars' reception in Taiwan. This is the only DVD of the director's cut that has English subtitles on both the film and the extras, except the Making Of which doesn't have any subtitles.
All Thailand editions mentioned above are now out of print. A budget-price one disc version was released in 2009, accompanied by a two disc version of the director's cut.
Love of Siam (theatrical version) was released in the US on October 13, 2009. The only extra is the trailer. This is the only DVD of the theatrical version that has English subtitles.