Monday, September 21, 2009

In My Life


There are two scenes that almost moved me to tears (for a person as numb as a rock, that is something): The one with Vilma and Luis at the park (bits of which are shown in the trailer); and that one with Vilma and Dimples in the kitchen after signing the document. Ang galing lang nilang lahat.

But the best scene would be that Vilma - JLC confrontation scene. The one you see in the trailer is not in this movie. The one here has the same dialogue but with a different setting and a surprise element that, well, leaves the audience quite surprised. That scene assures a shoo-in nomination for both Vilma and John Lloyd in whatever acting award giving body you could think of.

Vilma is getting old and you would think that public service took a toll on her acting capabilities (think Mano Po 3) but in this movie she delivers quite well. Some people would say that she is OA here but I think it is more of what the role demands of her rather than bad acting. The Shirley character is a woman with a lot of angst that causes her to act rather immature for her age. I think that is where all the exaggeration stems from.

John Lloyd is gay in this movie, which is good because he is expanding his acting repertoire. I think this movie should mark the start of a career where he could juggle movies that depend on his charisma, and movies where he could experiment on different characters to work on his versatility as an actor. One thing for sure though, is that he would end up winning as Box Office King again at the end of the year.

I thought Luis Manzano would ruin this movie, but then again I was proven wrong. I am not saying that his performance here is anything near award-winning, all I am trying to say is that he is able to hold his own in scenes which I thought his mom, or JLC, would dominate. Another thing is that his "gayness" in this movie really comes off as natural. I would not even speculate on whether he is gay or not in real life. It is just that in this movie it is quite convincing. He is SO gay in that scene where he is laughing at his nephew's picture. Ang landi lang niya, as in. Hahaha. And I love how he and his mom are able to effectively transfer onscreen, the mother and son rapport I suppose they have in real life. Ang kulit nilang dalawa. Very natural.

As for the support cast it is Dimples who I admire the most. She has, like, less than five scenes in this movie but she only needs one to showcase her acting prowess. She is really underrated. Very good actress. Vice Ganda steals the show once in a while. The parts where he is included are the intentionally funny scenes, although the movie has a lot of subtle comedy in it courtesy of Vilma herself.

As for the Pamela character, I think they really intended for the character to be visually unappealing to look at. Perhaps for comedic effect. They could have opted for another actress that has the looks to induce more tension between the lead characters, but then that would have dragged the plot to telenovela-ish proportions. I think casting that girl for that role is just right to establish the dire situation that Noel is in.

I would have to disagree with one review saying that the ending sort of encourages bad practice for Filipinos in the US. The movie merely reflects the reality of Filipino life, not just in NY, but in the entire USA. I think moviegoers are old enough to not take everything at face value, and apply critical thinking. Or perhaps this "movie critic" left his brain at the door when he watched the movie. Makapaghanap lang ng maipipintas.

Tirso Cruz III does a great job and is probably a better actor but I would have loved to see Edu Manzano do the cameo instead, just for the real life family connections.

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