Let me tell you, as I write this review, my eyes are still swollen from all the crying I did after seeing this two hour long comedy-drama film starring no less than the Star for All Seasons, Vilma Santos, Angel Locsin and Xian Lim. Let me also tell you that despite all the tears, every single emotion wrought by this movie was worth it.
Vivian Rabaya is the CEO of a major real estate development company. She is known as a tough taskmistress, a no nonsense type of leader and one who is used to see results. No matter how successful she is in the professional arena, though, she is a failure in her family life, estranged from her only son Albert (Xian Lim) and separated from the husband who could not keep up with her as she built her empire. Jaica is the best nurse in her hospital, hardworking and struggling with her finances to provide for her family. When Vivian is diagnosed with cancer, she hires Jaica as her full time nurse. Not used to being helpless, and not used to being treated like an idiot, the two polar opposite characters clash and learn from each other as they work together to conquer Vivian’s disease.
The trailer for the movie was intriguing straight off the bat. It seemed inspired by The Devil Wears Prada, the Meryl Streep/ Anne Hathaway starrer about a diabolical fashion editor and her new assistant. But despite the laughs in the trailer, there seemed to be something more lying beneath the surface. After all, you don’t cast award winning actresses and like Vilma and Angel to do pure comedy.
The beginning seemed pretty light, just what the trailer had promised. Witty one liners, funny dialogue and repartee — Angel as Jaica was charming and funny because her movements seemed natural. Vilma’s Vivian proved a foil for her character because it was a role so uncharacteristic for her after all her years in showbiz. She was on 110 pure bitch mode. A single glare seemed enough to blister through the walls.
But viewers should not have been lulled into thinking that this was going to be the tone of the whole movie. It was just bait, after all to lure everyone into thinking that it will be a typical optimistic poor girl wins the heart of horrible boss. It was so much more than that. There were hidden layers to their characters. There were motivations for their actions and as their own stories unfold on the big screen, audiences feel more connected to them. The characters too, become instrumental to each other in finding peace and forgiveness. I don’t know, but there’s just something beautiful in that.
First off, kudos to Direk Joyce Bernal for the excellent direction of this movie. Even if a movie already had an excellent cast of actors going for it, Bb. Joyce deserves credit for wringing out the best performance from each one. Vilma Santos is a master in her craft — there has never been a question about this. My favorite scenes in the movie were actually the quieter moments when she longingly looked at her son as he slept, her unsolicited hug for Angel’s character to thank her for her compassion, but the best scene, perhaps not just for Vivian, but for all three lead characters — was the bathroom scene when she finds out that her son knows about her disease despite her wishes.
I also loved Angel’s portrayal of Jaica. She did the stereotypical female lead role in a fashion that is not cutesy. Instead, she added depth to her character with small nuances, eye movement, smiles and actions that make her memorable, and more human. While I am not a big fan of Xian Lim, I must admit that I should credit him for stepping up his acting game for this movie. In previous movies, I felt like Xian worried too much about how he would register on screen. This time around, I felt that he wanted to deliver his best performance more than he wanted to look good and it paid off in spades. Kudos to his breakdown scene. It was raw and heartfelt, and came out as very genuine.
I loved the script, and the progression of the story. The tension seemed to increase steadily but when it came to the dramatic part, it came in wave after wave of emotion. The feels in this movie was just so overwhelming but I mean this in a good way. Thirty minutes of laughter and a subsequent hour and a half of non stop crying seems like a fitting ratio for this movie based on my estimate.
All in all, I loved the movie because it carried an inspiring message about families and balancing work life with one’s personal life. Its a story about forgiveness and love and the way it was laid out was just brilliant. Just, the feels. It was a perfect combination of a great story, a heartfelt message, great acting and an execution that was on point throughout the entire film.