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It’s Metro manila Film Festival season again. It’s the time of the year when Christmas and New Year celebration are made colorful by Filipino movies in major cinemas in the Philippines. While many would give negative comments on the quality of movies our industry can offer, It is still a part of our holiday tradition during December. Many would still look forward and watch with their families and friends.

This year, we have seen the usual comedy, romantic, horror and drama, among many. What’s new are the line up of actors, although some are still familiar big names.

Topping the gross are My Bebe Love and Beauty and the Bestie. The first one features the sensational AlDub (which I suppose is the main reason why it went as an explosion). Good part of the story is how it caters to family. It is wholesome and has minimal to zero explicit language, action or material shown. It is good for family viewing, even with kids around. A better improvement would be the barrage of advertisement, both deliberate and subtly shown. Although this would be the condition of Filipino Film fest entries due to the lack of budget (So we need to support our own to level up the quality and not to depend much on ads). image

On the other hand, Beauty and the Bestie is also a nice comedy movie, featuring Vice Ganda, Coco Martin and the popular JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre). This is a story of two friends trying to reconcile with one another through an interesting separate individual adventures, but ending up helping each other. Good side of the movie is the strong family and friendship values. It is also a “Good Vibes” kinda one! If you are expecting a logically cohesive plot, this is not for you. But if you just want to enjoy and laugh the day out, this can be recommended. However, you need to be watchful of foul language, sarcasm and the typical “Voce Ganda” punch lines (You know what I mean) Kids might not be ready to see such. There are also some “skin” shown.

Moving forward, here’s my TOP 3.
(Disclaimers: This is review by a Literature major and an avid movie goer, not a professionally trained movie critic. This is also carefully written as to not SPOIL the story, as if you guys are really interested LOLs)

#3 – All You Need is Pag-ibig
Story of different people finding their ultimate connection in LOVE. The movie is not just about romantic love but also, as the intro narrator said, “Different Kinds of Love.” It also highlights the value of loving your family, Father-Daughter reconciliation, High School reunion, and helping others find their way to love.

Good:
😁 The language is plain and clean (with minimal foul words only, mostly on expressions).
😁 Shows strong family values.
😁 Cleaner fun
😁 Realistic plot (Not far from what typical Filipinos are going through)

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Warning:
😭 Dereck’s quick show of skin. (Not appropriate for Kids)
😭 Some sexual undertone.
😭 Minimal Foul language (Cursing)
😭 Advertisement. Thank you, SM Malls, for being the star LOLs

Overall, It’s my 3rd best one this year. With all due respect to the 2 Top Grossers, this is a better story, casting, and setting than those. While the comedy the other 2 offer is as “expected” as that of a usual yearly entry, this one is better. It’s a mix of big cast (I would say the most number of BIG artists combined) and although individually they are already well read by people, It brings something new when they are combined. Remember: *clap clap clap* Powerful!!!


#2 – Honor Thy Father

This one is made differently. While most MMFF entries would give you a “Pinoy Film” effect (You’ll get one if you see tons and tons of Tagalog Movies), this one is kinda different. It is internationally ready and, just like those indie-films-made-big-internationally, this one is one of the best so far (Of which my 1st is Heneral Luna)
The title “Honor thy Father” is a biblical allusion of the 5th Commandment (Honor your Father and Mother – Exodus 20). It depicts the use and abuse of religion, and how one can fall to religious fanaticism in the name of “the Father.” It is also because of the father of the wife of the protagonist that made them struggle, and the rest of the story is about how they tried to survive from that. It also shows the “Coming to Age” of the Protagonist, trying to get the honor he deserve as the Father (and head of the family), which got lost when he previously disobeyed his father (now that’s another father), and live separately from his family in Bontoc.

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Good:
😁 Very interesting plot twist. Not the typical predictable plot
😁 Cinematography is superb. It’s internationally ready, like what I’ve said.
😁 John Lloyd Cruz. (What else can you say? LOLs) He’s consistently good on heavy drama.
😁 Gives you the feeling of wanting to be involved and change the story. It means it is effective.
😁 Courageously bannered some of the blindspots of our nation.

Warnings:
😭 Morbid. Not for kids.
😭 Too many cursing and foul words.
😭 Violence.
😭 Might be sensitive for “religious” people.

Overall, We heard of the controversies this movie faced, including being disqualified for best picture and some political assaults, not to mention religious assaults from some denomination). While I agree with the quality of this movie, I also want to respect the decisions of those who screened it. Some strong evidences of violation were shown, including being played in different cinema and sent as entries prior to MMFF. I Placed it as my 2nd (only) not because of those controversies but for some other reasons, which I will partially explain below on my #1 spot.


#1 – Walang Forever

The story of a writer (Played by Jennylyn Mercado), finding her way to inspiration again as she reclaims her title as the ‘most acclaimed popular movie writer’ parallel to significant events in her life, which mainly is affected by her “forever” – played by Jericho Rosales. Her movie scripts are marked by their highlights as a couple, which was greatly challenged because of a sudden twist in their love affair. Towards the end, a shocking revelation (Not the typical “May ibang babae” or “It’s not you, it’s me” kind of twist) will make audience cry. It’s a bitter sweet story. In as much as I want to spoil it, I respect those who are still planning to watch.

Good:
😁 Very realistic story. It can be happening to some people you know, who are afraid to talk about it.
😁 Shift and flow of the story. The plot is well arranged. The conflict is well laid down. The choice of setting is realistic.
😁 Well written script. Daming quotables as well =)
😁 Combination of reality and documentary feels. (see what I mean when you watch the movie)
😁 The acting is amazing. While some of the entries are straight drama or comedy, this one shows strong versatility in changing roles. At one point you are laughing heavily, and on a split second you will burst into tears. It is probably the reason why both lead stars got the Best Actor/Actress respectively. I appreciate other big names in the industry opposite them, but most of them (although very good) show only one side of acting. These two are very mature and promising in what they have shown. And of course, the signature Jericho Rosales tears!!!

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Warning:
😭 Bed scene and other (minimal) sexual undertone.
😭 Foul words.
😭 They started in “Campus Ligawan” Might not show good values for students, but definitely depicts what really is happening in the campuses. (Don’t worry, It’s just a very quick scene)

Overall, It is my number one, heavily because of how the actors move the story, and the audience for that matter. The twist and turn of events, the unpredictable ending, the puzzle it will give you, trying to connect every event and having a moment of “AAAHHH THAT’S WHY!!!” towards the end of the movie. It also kinda redeem the value of love for one another. What you can do because you love the other person. It is Comedy, Romantic, Drama and Suspense (Not the horror kind of suspense, but the anticipation on the turn of events) in one.

What else can I say? Filipino movies are getting better and better. Hopefully you will consider supporting it. We will only go to the level we desire if we support it, and not just compare and complain.
Mabuhay ang Peliculang Filipino!

Comento, por favor!