INANG YAYA (Pablo Biglang-awa, Veronica Velasco, 2006)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Siguro kung ililista ko lahat ng gusto kong sabihin tungkol sa pelikulang ito, aabutin ako ng 10,000 words no exag. Kasing-dami yan ng patak ng luha ko sa sobrang daming beses ko na din siya napanood.

Sino ba ang Maricelian sa Young Critics Circle? Wag ka aalis diyan ha dahil ikaw lang talaga ang may taste for recognizing her excellent performances (even in genre films like Vampira). As a huge fan of Maricel Soriano, ipaglalaban ko na ito ang kanyang best performance ever (close second yung critically-lauded Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal). Napaka-understated kasi ng pag-arte niya dito. Nawawala ang usual acting tics na hate ng Manunuris sa kanya kaya never siya nanalo ng Urian.

Kung tutuusin, very anti-Maricel ang atake niya sa role ni Mommy Yaya Norma. Nung bumili siya ng “Skeechers” para sa anak na si Ruby (a wonderful Tala Santos) tapos ibinato lang nito kasi fake at pagtatawanan daw siya ng mga kaklase, yung tahimik na pag-upo niya grabe gusto ko siya yakapin. Walang hagulgol, pigil ang pag-iyak habang hawak ang rejected na pinag-ipunang regalo. Ang sakit sakit.

Iisipin mo na typical Pinoy melodrama siya kaya nakakatuwa na medyo na-subvert yung genre. Lutang pa rin ang issue on class differences pero kaunti lang ang tropes na ginamit. Masyado nga ako nasanay sa mga teleserye kaya nung may eksena si Norma na nagpa-plantsa akala ko meron masusunog o nung pinagdala niya ng mainit na tsaa si Ruby, akala ko mabubuhos sa matapobreng lola (Liza Lorena). Buti walang ganun dito. Napakabait pa ng mga amo niya (Zoren Legaspi and Sunshine Cruz) na mapapaisip ka kung meron ba talagang tulad nila in real life or nakasanayan lang natin na maldita lagi si madam at mas mababa ang pagtrato niya sa mga yaya/maid. Hindi ito pelikula para sa mga cynical na tao.

Grabe, I can quote this film for days.

Louise (a charming Erika Oreta): “Eww, why are you eating the head of the shrimp?”

Ruby: “It’s mah-sah-rap kasi.”

HAHAHAHAHA!!

Ang galing talaga ng mga batang ‘to. Ang ganda pa ng chemistry nilang tatlo kaya durog na durog ang puso ko pagdating sa realistic ending. Such an underrated gem.

Rating: ★★★★★

DAHAS (Chito Roño, 1995)

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It’s been 23 years since this was shown in theaters as an MMFF ‘95 entry and I’m still bitter over the fact that it lost Best Picture (and Best Actress for Maricel Soriano) to standard drama fare Muling Umawit ang Puso. Great Pinoy thrillers rarely get the respect that they deserve.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published January 20, 2019.)

THE ANNULMENT (Mac Alejandre, 2019)

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Hiyang-hiya si Britney Spears sa pagka-toxic ng mag-asawang ‘to.

Grabe for a drama sobrang dami ng tawa ko lalo na nung nagbuhusan sila ng isang jug ng water before mag-kitchen sex tapos slo-mo focus sa basang-basang (wink, wink) chest ni Joem Bascon hahaha! Tapos nung sex scene inutusan niya si Lovi Poe na “Kagatin mo!” habang pababa si ate mo sa nipples at pototoy niya hahaha!

Lovi to Myrtle Sarrosa (who should probably stick to cosplaying): “Sino ka? Anong tawag nila sa’yo maliban sa kabit?” (Hello gurl di mo ba kilala si Ate Marya? Eh di kerida, mistress, number 2 are you facking my husband anuba!!)

Meron pa parang marital rape na biglang naging angry sex na puro hampasan (sa braso??) na napaisip ako kung malamok lang sa kwarto nila.

Best yung totoong sinabon ni Lovi ang likod ni Joem sa shower sex scene. Very realistic. At syempre hagalpak ako nung sumbatan na ng infidelity at tinanong ni ate kung “Sinasabon mo rin ba ang likod niya?”. Hahahahaha!!

But wait, hindi pa ako umaabot dun sa OA court scene na straight out of Ipaglaban Mo. Mas naiyak ako at na-bother na pinayagan ng judge yung ganung shade ng purple lipstick sa lawyer ni Lovi. I object!!

Sigurado ba talaga na hindi ito directed by Joel Lamangan?

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

SAAN DARATING ANG UMAGA? (Maryo J. Delos Reyes, 1983)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Saan Darating ang Umaga?:

1. Meron talagang mga pelikula na marinig mo pa lang ang theme song maiiyak ka na. Nung pinanood ko ulit ito recently, hindi pa kumakanta si Raymond Lauchengco (as in instrumental part pa lang sa initial scenes) pero parang sasabog na ang puso ko. Na-picture ko agad si Joel (‘80s child star Jaypee de Guzman) na ngumangawa habang humahabol sa kanyang Ate Shayne (FAMAS Best Supporting Actress winner Maricel Soriano) pagkasoli sa kanya sa ampunan (more on that later).

“Bakit pa pinagtagpo? Pala’y maglalayo tayo sa ating buhay…” Hala, naluluha na ako ulit!!

2. Melodramatic siya to a fault pero sobrang earned yung tears. Ang daling mahalin ng Pamilya Rodrigo kasi they functioned like any normal middle class family during that time. I’m sure maraming oldies like me na makaka-relate sa everyday situations nila. Yung panahon na considered breadwinner pa ang mga tatay habang butihing housewives naman ang mga nanay. Tapos yung tuwing maririnig ng mga bata ang kotse ni tatay eh sasalubungin nila sa gate ng bahay at maghahanap ng dalang pasalubong.

Ang conservative pa ng values noon kaya nakakaaliw ang pag-ku-kuwento ng nanay na si Lorrie (the magnificent Nida Blanca) kay Shayne ng trade secrets to maintain a healthy partnership. Natawa ako nung sinabi niya na kahit ang tagal na nila mag-asawa, hindi pa siya nakikita ni Ruben (Nestor de Villa) na nakahubad para hindi ito maghanap ng iba. Very 80’s maybahay talaga.

Also, nakakatawa ang kulitan scenes nilang mag-nanay. Nung lumabas si Shayne na todo make-up before going to school (kasi in love ang ate mo), ang unang hirit ni mudang eh “Do you have a party today?”. Ayun napikon, sabay walkout at galit na galit ginaya ang nanay niya sa harapan ng salamin. Ganyan na ganyan ako kapag asar-talo.

3. Malungkot ang major themes on adoption, loss, and grief. Ang sakit sa puso nung sinabi ni Lorrie na “Bakit naman kasi kung sino pa yung gustong-gusto magkaanak, siya pa ang laging nakukunan?”. Makikita rin dito na for the privileged ang legal adoption. Magastos ang overall process at kelangan talaga na malinaw ang financial support. Obvious naman na can afford sila kasi ang lawak ng garden in their gated subdivision home (big enough para mag-sunbathing si Shayne dahil feel lang niya haha!).

Ang medyo naguluhan lang ako ay yung pagbabalik kay Joel nung dulo. Allowed ba talaga yun dahil nabaliw si Lorrie at in danger na ang bata kapag kasama siya? Nakaka-sad kasi parang hiniram lang siya na laruan tapos nung hindi na nila kaya alagaan eh isosoli na lang ulit.

I really liked the strong connection nito dun sa isa pang pelikula ni Maricel na Ama, Ina, Anak. Daming similarities including yung sibling rivalry, although that one wasn’t as tragic.

4. Speaking of sibling rivalry, believable talaga yung pagmamaldita ni Shayne out of jealousy lalo na at na-divert sa new bunso lahat ng attention. Na kahit ang laki ng age gap nila, ultimo pasalubong na chocolates eh nakikipag-agawan pa siya sa bata (di naman ako nagulat kasi even nung pabitin scene eh parang gusto niya sumali).

Sobrang paawa din kasi yung mukha ni Joel kaya natawa ako sa pasimpleng sipa sa kanya ni Shayne nung aerobics scene. At kahit ako uminit ang ulo nung puro drawings na ang favorite niya na plastic-covered copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude (first, kasi I really love that book, and second, kasi nangyari rin ito sa akin at nung nasira ang magazine ko na collector’s item, ako pa ang napagalitan ng parentals at sinabihan na babayaran nila, as if meron pang copy nun at may katumbas na price ang sentimental value haha bitter pa rin).

(Side note: Huy Shayne, binigyan ka lang ng book ng stalker mo tapos date na agad? Anyare sa conservative values na sinasabi ko kanina?)

Pero syempre naawa pa rin ako kay Joel nung binalibag at pinagsasampal siya habang tinatawag na ampon kasi alam naman natin paano si Marya sa iconic sampalan scenes niya.

5. Maganda talaga yung increased awareness regarding depression. Dati hindi ko maintindihan masyado yung immediate change of emotions ni Lorrie kay Joel after mamatay ni Ruben. Iniisip ko kasi na nanay pa rin siya at sobrang minahal niya yung bata so bakit ang bilis niya magpa-Sophie’s Choice kay Shayne na mamili sa kanilang dalawa.

Pero ngayon alam ko na kung ano ang severe adverse effects ng grief sa mental state ng tao. Posible siyang mangyari kapag nakaka-experience ng ganung trauma from a tragedy. Yung umaabot talaga sa point na kukuha ng scissors at pagsasasaksakin ang portrait ng isang bata.

(Side note ulit: After repeat viewings, napansin ko na ang ganda ng foreshadowing nung beach race scene lalo na kung intentional siya. Eto yung hinablot ni Lorrie yung “flag” kay Joel tapos tuloy-tuloy siyang tumakbo na walang pakialam kahit nahulog na yung bunso niya sa kinatatayuang bato. At very apt na si Shayne talaga ang tumigil para saluhin ang bata.)

6. “Minsan isang umaga babalikan kita.” One of the saddest final lines ever written.

Kung marami kang pent-up emotions today, panoorin mo na siya. Wag kalimutan ang box ng tissue.

Rating: ★★★★☆

BELLE DOULEUR (Joji Villanueva Alonso, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Umay levels ang iba’t-ibang anggulo ng pwet ni Kit Thompson na medyo tuod pa rin umarte. Sa sobrang dami ng sex scenes nila ni Mylene Dizon, naubusan ng “nadiligang flower” metaphors ang director. (Also, ang saya talaga kapag privileged kasi pwedeng mag-sex na lang kayo all day, every day na walang iniisip na trabaho.)

Sobrang hot ni Mylene na parang hindi masyadong tumanda si Melanie Suntay niya sa Gimik. Kaya di rin masyadong ramdam for me ang sinasabing age gap. Yung parang Maricel Soriano-Diether Ocampo sa Soltera na mapapaisip ka kung true love ba or pineperahan lang siya.

Technically, malinis ang pelikula. Napaka-glossy na parang Star Cinema movie. Nung naglakad nga si Mylene sa UP grounds, akala ko biglang magiging Alone/Together. Tapos self-love ulit ang theme. Kakapanood ko lang nito sa Hello, Love, Goodbye ah.

MY BIG BOSSING (Tony Reyes, Marlon Rivera, Joyce Bernal, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on My Big Bossing:

1. Vic Sotto just had this certain charm that I wasn’t surprised when the ladies kept fawning at him. In the movie’s very first scene, he simply said a throwaway “Exchuse me!” and I couldn’t control my laughter. In the second segment, he even showed some range dealing with a dead daughter. Good one, Bossing!

2. Sotto wore a crisp white polo shirt and of course I knew what was coming next: “Bossing sa kaputian!”. To be fair though, this sequel only had a few commercials. The only other product I noticed was PLDT Home.

3. The Sirena segment by Tony Reyes could have been an episode of Okay Ka, Fairy Ko. Only this one had Ryzza Mae Dizon donning a mermaid costume. It was still a very weak entry already given its sitcom roots. People just kept getting pushed in different bodies of water. Not funny.

4. Speaking of Dizon, why haven’t we seen her launching movie yet? She has the same spunk and charm of a young Aiza Seguerra. Given the right material, she can achieve the same superkid status. She’s just too adorable. Obviously I’m a fan.

5. The cast of Ina-Tay was here! (Refer to Cinemalaya 2014.)

6. Manilyn Reynes was supposed to play a fish vendor so they covered her up with dark make-up. Sometimes it looked like she had jaundice instead.

7. The Taktak segment by Marlon Rivera had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, there were just so many sub-plots to tackle in forty minutes. You’re not yet completely forgiven for the first one, Sir. Not yet.

8. Dizon here played Angel, a version of Elsa (more La Aunor, less Frozen) and she looked funny during the seances. This reminded me so much of Judiel Nieva, the transgendered lady who apparently could see the Virgin Mary back in the early 90’s. Wikipedia refers to her as an actress and businesswoman.

9. Marian Rivera looked good onscreen but has she ever played any character that didn’t scream her head off at other actors? Her characters always sounded shrill and high-strung like she was invoking the spirit of Maricel Soriano during her Inday days.

10. One obvious gaffe: Jose Manalo’s character texted Angel looking for her even if in the previous scene he was seen walking away with her.

11. One ghost mentioned something really scary and had always been one of my fears: “Susundan kita sa banyo.” Imagine a dead relative watching you take a shower in all your naked glory. Horrors!!

12. The third segment called Prinsesa by Joyce Bernal looked really good. Granted, most of the castle scenes were shot in Fernbrook Gardens in Las Pinas, I was impressed with the village that looked very much like The Shire and was populated by digital animals. Eat your heart out, Peter Jackson!

13. One character had his tongue cut off and was shown all bloody in a succeeding scene. What happened to the General Patronage rating?

14. If Mara Clara was a fairy tale, this would be that version.

15. At first I thought that the trilogy was very Eat Bulaga Holy Week presentation levels. And then it dawned on me. It was trying to be that other movie anthology, Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang. Am I right, 80’s kids?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published January 5, 2015.)

THE HOWS OF US (Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Hows of Us:

1. If you’re an old soul (read: an oldie afraid to admit that he’s beyond his prime) like me, you probably have downloaded and played Homescapes (currently ranked #73 in the Apple App Store) where your goal was to build this dream house and decorate it with all types of furniture. The first five minutes of this movie reminded me so much of that game, with George (Kathryn Bernardo) and Primo (Daniel Padilla) providing the voiceover while they selected the perfect couch for their living room. That scene culminated in a huge shouting match that signalled the end of their relationship before transitioning to a split screen sequence that was completely lifted from Kalyeserye (I swear I could hear an instrumental version of Rey Valera’s Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko in the background, a song I have associated with AlDub ever since I died of kilig from their McDonald’s commercial heydays). And then it turned into a Mannequin Challenge with the camera moving around while the pair pretended to be serious contenders in a game of stop dance. Wait, were they aiming to do a recap of pop culture references for this decade?

2. I honestly expected this to be KathNiel’s response to the critical success of JaDine’s Never Not Love You, but it simply lacked the depth and maturity (in terms of characters and story) needed to display their growth as artists (insert that meme of Tyra Banks screaming “I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!!”).

Hearing Kathryn utter the word “Putangina!” repeatedly just wasn’t enough, especially if you would consider a Miss Granny like Sarah Geronimo saying vulgar words like “puke” and “hindot” in her most recent film. While their screen rivals tackled weighty themes like long distance relationships and adult responsibilities, the biggest conflict in this movie was whether George should continue with her jeepney ride to take her med school exam or scream “para!” to get down and help a drunk Primo who was slumped on the road. These were supposed to be real people problems? Seryoso?

Side note: I guess it spoke a lot about the maturity of these characters that the fans still shrieked their lungs out every time the lovebirds kissed.

3. Dear Star Cinema, wasn’t it too early to start recycling elements from your recent hits? There were so many things here that reminded me so much of Starting Over Again from George’s line of “In him, I saw a good man…” to that supposedly sensual flirtation reminiscent of Toni Gonzaga’s stepladder scene down to that drunk rant of George with her gay BFF (Juan Miguel Severo) that never reached the comedic heights of Beauty Gonzalez’s “Yang hope na yan, lason yan” moment. I’m sure you have a strong pool of writers. Wala na bang bago? (As in Susan Africa played a Tita Lola role and ended up dead after a few scenes.)

4. If anything, Kathryn looked so gorgeous here (with or without her EO Optical contacts) and I’d have to commend her for making the most out of her thinly-written character. She only had one off moment when she was required to overact like crazy in that “Pagod na pagod na pagod na ako!” scene. Otherwise, she was actually good in her dramatic scenes (even if she played a selfish girlfriend required to say lines like “Wala kang pambili kahit cupcake man lang para sa akin?”) and was even better during the (abruptly) comedic second half. She seemed headed back to her glorious Magkaribal/Mara Clara days. Really happy for her!!

And no amount of Daniel sporting a horrible mullet and looking like a deranged version of Lady Diane (“Sa-sa-Saddami ng problema natin!”) minimized the fact that this tandem could still deliver the requisite kiligs. My favorite moment had to be that cringey-sweet hugot of Primo: “Matagal na naman akong talo eh simula nung hinayaan kong mawala ka”. Awww!

(P.S. Ang galing na nila umarte pareho. Please give them the movie that they deserve!!)

5. I had seen the entire filmography of Maricel Soriano so I know that that entire splitting of the house with masking tape gag was already done with much better results in Kung Kaya Mo, Kaya Ko Rin! (and yes, it was also just copied from a much earlier film with Dolphy and Nida Blanca or some other Philippine Cinema legends that I was too lazy to Google). If I remembered it correctly, there was also a scene where Cesar Montano played his guitar and tried to win back Maricel through a harana. And when Maricel’s BFF Ruby Rodriguez decided to visit the house, she had to drag her over to her side because the rest of the space was off-limits. All of those exact same scenes were in this movie. Again, wala na bang bago?

6. In one clunky scene, George and Primo were selling their “conjugal” ancestral home to a potential buyer (Odette Khan) and after stating that it really didn’t have much value, Primo countered that it did have a lot of history and special memories, thus making it priceless. And I kept thinking, “Totoo ba? Ano naman paki ng buyer sa memories na yan?” so I was really surprised when she instead replied with “I like it! Eto na ang pera!” Huwaaaat?

7. Real jokes delivered while the lovebirds biked around Amsterdam:

• “Bakit ang daming nag-ba-bike dito?” “Eh bike-it naman hindi?”

• “Anong instrumento ang favorite sa Amsterdam?” “Eh di Amsterdrums!”

• “Ano ang favorite pet sa Amsterdam?” “Eh di Hamsterdam!”

• “Ano ang paboritong kainin sa Amsterdam?” “Eh di Hamsterdam and Cheese!”

Should I continue? AMSTERDAMMIT!!

8. “Sana samahan mo pa rin ako in finding out the answers to all the hows.” Hahahaha! Naipilit pa rin ang title.

But seriously, after My Ex and Whys and The Hows of Us, I wonder if Star Cinema still has plans of using the remaining 4W’s. Who Who Belles? What’s Upon a Time? Ready to Where? When Dramas? Oh, too punny!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

THE LOVE AFFAIR (Nuel Naval, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Love Affair:

1. Let’s get this out of the way. If you’re a woman who feels a sense of redemption and triumph in seeing a mistress put in her proper place (refer to No Other Woman, The Mistress, The Legal Wife, and countless viral videos of wives confronting and ultimately bitchslapping their husbands’ kulasisi), then nothing should stop you from seeing this movie. Definitely no judgments here. Kabit movies have always been a good source of entertainment for us Pinoys.

2. Speaking of kabit movies, there were so many similarities between this and Maryo J. delos Reyes’ A Love Story. It involved a doctor meeting a future lover through an accident, multiple flashbacks, water sports, and confrontation scenes that all it needed was an out of the country location. But then again, all kabit movies usually follow the same formula so I shouldn’t have expected anything new.

3. I was completely distracted by the poor production values. All those out of focus shots, bad lighting, and horrendous dubbing were unusual for a Star Cinema glossy movie.

4. I know that people lose their bearings and cool when placed in stressful situations but I was still shocked by the words coming out of these professionals’ mouths. For a doctor and lawyer, their liberal use of the words suso, or libog, or Shit, or Fuck just sounded really off. Maybe the dialogue was indeed sprinkled with these vulgar words for shock value. Either that or I was just being a complete prude.

5. Bea Alonzo to ex-boyfriend Tom Rodriguez: “I know this is your house, but I need you to leave. Kelangan ko ng buong araw para makapag-impake ng gamit ko.”

Nasaan ang pride, girl?

6. I feared a lot for the characters’ health and wellness. Lagi na lang umuulan and almost all of them got soaked because they just loved making drama under the pouring rain. Have they never heard of pneumonia?

7. I had a great time watching Bea’s cuts and bruises appear, disappear and re-appear in several scenes. If you would look closely in one of the stairs scenes, Bea’s shirt was actually stained on the back with the same color as her arm bruises. No wonder they keep disappearing.

8. If you’re a lawyer applying for a job in a prestigious firm, won’t you even try to cover the cut on your forehead and try not to look like a walking liability? I can recommend a good concealer dear.

9. This movie gave a whole new meaning to serendipity. Bea and Richard Gomez just kept bumping into each other in the weirdest places and situations. The fact that they didn’t end up together only supported the theory of #WalangForever.

10. In one scene, Richard offered a ride to Bea:

“You wanna borrow my car?”
“No, I’ll just use Grab.”

And with that, GrabTaxi just one-upped Uber.

11. I loved the best friend/conscience played by Ina Feleo. She was judgmental with reason and that scene where she slapped Bea silly was justified. I could only wish for more friends just like her.

12. Whatever happened to Ana Capri? She played the stereotypical pokpok role here but she’s still one of the best pokpoks in Philippine Cinema. Please give her more projects that will put her great acting skills to good use (e.g. Pila Balde, Live Show, Sa Paraiso ni Efren).

13. Walang ibang kinakain ang pamilya nina Richard at Dawn kundi ice cream at kape? Like really. For real. In real life.

14. Can someone explain the following:

a. Why does Richard have a neck pimple in all past and present scenes? When will he pop that damn thing?

b. What happened to the lips of Evangeline Pascual? Call a doctor, stat!

c. Is there any effect if a defibrillator is used on top of tubes or an actual hospital gown?

d. Can anyone identify the man wearing a blue shirt in the elevator scene and explain why he suddenly disappeared in the next scene?

e. Why is every day Valentine’s Day in this movie?

15. I did not fancy that daddy swimwear of Richard. He went swimming with shades on his head, a white shirt and shorts, and a watch. Cringe.

16. And there was this sex sa batuhan scene that made me really uncomfortable just thinking of all the scratches that will get inflicted on Bea’s supple back. And don’t get me started on all the lumot.

17. Bea typed “Vincent Ramos neurosurgeon wife” in Google and all the pictures of Dawn suddenly showed up. Wow, how popular was Richard’s character?

18. As expected, there was a confrontation scene between Dawn and Bea wherein two intelligent, classy professionals forgot their breeding and good manners and tried to outwit and outbitch each other. These two great actresses deserved much better. Besides, nothing could ever beat the classic Maricel-Zsa Zsa scene in Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin:

“Wag mo kong ma-Terry Terry. Sagutin mo ang tanong ko ‘Are you FACKING my husband??!'”

19. “Pagod na pagod na ko ginagago ng mga taong mahal ko.” Naku, deserved mo yan girl.

20. Was I the only one wishing for John Lloyd Cruz or Zanjoe Marudo to suddenly show up in the end and deliver the typical Star Cinema (really) happy ending? Cue Alamid’s Your Love.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 13, 2015.)

IKAW PA LANG ANG MINAHAL (Carlos Siguion-Reyna, 1992)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal:

1. In a recent screening of the remastered and restored version of this Pinoy classic, Maricel Soriano spilled some scalding tea when she (jokingly) expressed her disappointment on not winning any major award for her performance in this film which she considered one of her favorites (she lost in the Big Four to Lorna Tolentino for Narito ang Puso Ko). She then mentioned that her loss at least inspired her to come up with much better output and more collaborations with director Carlos Siguion-Reyna. 

You could ask any Maricelian and they would definitely share the same frustration, including the fact that she had never won an Urian award. Some would probably even bring up these unfounded rumors that Lolit Solis (then manager of Lorna) used her clout and bribed the academy (Famas, FAP) and press (Star Awards) voters and that a couple of Manunuris (Urian) had a particular dislike for Maricel and blocked most of her wins.

Regardless of the eventual results, the truth remained though that her flawless turn as Adela Sevilla would be one for the books. To paraphrase her character: “Mamahalin nila ako. Mamahalin nila ako para sa inyong lahat na hindi nagmahal sa akin!”.

2. I originally saw this when it was first released back in 1992 and it felt surreal watching it again in a theater 26 years later. I didn’t even know back then that this was an adaptation of William Wyler’s 1949 film, The Heiress with Olivia de Havilland, which in turn was based on Henry James’ novel, Washington Square (did I miss the acknowledgments during the opening/closing credits or was there really no mention of this?). I was so clueless that when I saw the 1997 Washington Square film with Jennifer Jason Leigh, I wanted to personally write to Direk Carlos that somebody copied his masterpiece (thank goodness for ISP Bonanza’s slow dial-up connection!).

3. To this day, I still couldn’t get over the fact that Dr. Maximo Sevilla (a terrific Eddie Gutierrez) was a renowned doctor considering that he couldn’t even perform basic CPR. He almost crushed his dying wife’s rib cage and never resorted to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and he even followed the same process with his dying daughter several years later (thankfully, the latter survived). At least his character made me understand the cariño brutal way that my mother used to raise all of her kids (if you’re reading this mom, I only included that to raise my word count).

Also, it was so ironic that the coldhearted Dr. Sevilla was actually right from the start in seeing through the real motives of David Javier (a wily Richard Gomez). Minsan na nga lang magka-Javier na character eh tuso pa. (Side note: Richard used to be my mom’s favorite local actor. Ipinaglihi niya ang youngest brother ko sa kanya. Ayun nakuha naman ni utol ang nunal sa right temple ni Richard hahaha!)

4. There were so many moments here that crushed my heart (Dr. Sevilla enumerating his regrets on having a pathetic daughter, Adela’s waterfall breakdown scene, the forced writing of the will, the deathbed reconciliation, etc.), but the scene that made me cry the most didn’t even have any dialogue (just some background music). It was the part where Adela was sitting inside her room, her face a mix of emotions, and then she finally smiled because she felt loved. She stood up, got a pink flower from the bouquet that David gave her, stood near the window, smelled the flower, and broke into tears. Yung feeling na “Lord thank you at nagka-jowa pa ako akala ko talaga mamamatay na akong single at walang magmamahal sa akin!”.

Seriously though, parang ako ang naka-jackpot ng jowa while watching this woman (tormented all her life by her disapproving dad even if she was a skillful manggagantsilyo) experience the gift of happiness that she deserved. (Again, Maricel didn’t win anything for this??)

5. That scene where Adela in glasses and wearing the dowdiest clothes stood next to the glamorous portrait of her mom (also named Adela btw and played by the lovely Dawn Zulueta) spoke volumes. Direk Carlos employed the same juxtaposition technique in Inagaw Mo and Lahat sa Akin to effectively differentiate social classes. Such a brilliant director (and still my favorite local one).

(Side note: Maricel in an old maid’s costume still looked gorgeous, sorry, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief.)

6. Anybody would want to have a kunsintidora aunt like Tiyang Paula. She was a welcome comic relief in this heavy drama. “Mukhang matindi ang sipon mo at kelangan mo pang lunurin sa alcohol.” Nyahahaha!

Sadly, Charito Solis was an acting legend who was gone way too soon.

7. Choice quotes for some melodramatic moments in your life…

• “Hindi baleng pulubi, basta hindi ahas!”

“Hindi baleng ahas, basta mahal ko!”

• “Bibilhin ko siya sa bawat singko na ipamamana mo sa akin! Tingnan ko lang kung di ka mangisay sa libingan mo!”

• “Gustuhin ko man, di ko magagawa. Sa puso nanggagaling ang pagpapatawad. Wala akong puso, nagmana ako sa’yo!”

8. Speaking of ahas, why did they always choose to have sex in the talahiban? It looked really scary. And mukhang makati.

9. Adela’s transformation from naive doormat to a feisty and heartless heredera. Wow! I wanted to stand up and cheer when she entered that church with her luscious curls wearing the bitchiest red dress with a matching belt bag. And that scene where she threw the hundred peso bills and David was temporarily stunned by all the flying cash? Iconic.

10. Was it just a coincidence that ugly Adela wore pearls while beautiful Adela wore diamonds? Shine bright like a real Diamond Star indeed.

Rating: ★★★★★