Friday, August 6, 2021

Revirginized

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

With two grown-up and well-raised children, middle-aged Carmela (Sharon Cuneta) never expected that she will be thrown a curveball this late in her life. After 36 years of marriage, her husband Bart (Albert Martinez) is asking for an annulment to run away with another woman. In a stage of shock and denial, she runs into her goddaughter who is about to turn eighteen and headed to a secluded beach called Stranded with her friends to celebrate her entry into womanhood through gallons of liquor. Ever intrusive and protective, she decides to tag along as an uninvited chaperone and immediately dislikes the hardcore party environment she finds herself in. As she gets immersed in a world of partygoers a few generations younger than hers, she meets Morph (Marco Gumabao), a tattoo artist who helps her get back up and move on to explore a new chapter in her life.

I don’t know if it’s supposed to be funny or tragic that people are quick to dismiss this based on the viral trailer released a few weeks ago, their main point of contention being the overflowing liquor, Cuneta’s cleavage, and their obvious dislike of the actress. My main takeaway after seeing the film is totally different and based on these socially relevant themes: sexual assault; premarital sex; teenage pregnancy; shotgun marriage; the traditional role assigned or forced upon women by a patriarchal society. Did I dig too deep into the storyline or are people just generally shallow nowadays? I guess we’ll never know.

Or perhaps the backlash has something to do with lack of overall comprehension? Such phenomenon is too obvious based on online behavior, from just reading the headlines but not the entire article all the way to judging a film based solely on its trailer. I’d say give Revirginized a chance. If anything, it’s a spot-on social commentary anchored on the ever frowned upon YOLO lifestyle of the youth nowadays, used perhaps as a marketing strategy to pique your curiosity and lure you into watching the movie.

I also don’t want to believe that having an older woman have a younger man as a love interest onscreen is to blame. Sunshine Cruz did that in Malamaya; Mylene Dizon in Belle Douleur; Angel Aquino in Glorious. Those films even have explicit love scenes to boot, but I don’t remember any uproar. It can even be argued that those movies were well-received for that very reason. And so I ask, why the hatred towards Sharon Cuneta? Please point to us on this doll where Sharon Cuneta hurt you so we can talk about it.

This movie does not even have a sex scene for crying out loud. The most risqué scene here is probably Cuneta licking salt from Gumabao’s abs before downing a shot of what appears to be tequila. What’s rated SPG here are the dialogues, what with a lot of cursing and references to male and female genitalia. Other than that, the storyline is that of your typical middle-aged woman undergoing a midlife crisis and coming to terms with her new reality, as seen through the lens and with the help of a younger age group.

Having said that, the film also comes across as bridging generation gaps. You really won’t expect your 60-year-old aunt or uncle to tag along with their grandchildren in their 20’s to a beach party just to find out how the party scene has evolved through the decades. By anchoring the storyline on an older aunt “going undercover” Cuneta’s Carmela does all the dirty work for them. All they have to do is watch. Come to think of it, every cringe and grimace of disapproval coming from her as she surveys the scene says it all. While the film does not force you to condone or condemn what you see, it does end with a reconciliation of varying generational points of view.

Perhaps the only thing I disapprove of is the twist at the end. It does its job as a plot device to provoke poetic justice, but I’ve already seen that twist in a Melissa McCarthy movie before. Hence, it feels a bit unoriginal despite accomplishing its intended effect. Set your expectations right and watch this for the life lessons and you won't be disappointed. Anyway, dissing the film just because you don't like the lead actress is unfair to the rest of the cast and crew who also worked hard on this project.

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