Monthly Archives: February 2016

Everything About Her: Studio Fare as Feminist Manifesto (Film Review)

Nonoy L. Lauzon

There are many great things that can be said about Star Cinema’s major motion picture release Everything About Her. It is suffused with the acting prowess that has made Vilma Santos the country’s most enduring movie queen and all-time superstar.  It is officially the biggest assembly of creative women power ever attempted in local filmmaking. Besides Vilma in the stellar role, it has the Santos sisters Charo and Malou for executive producers, Joyce Bernal at the directorial helm, and Angel Locsin as the other lead. It has a ladies’ team behind its screenplay and even its cinematographer is female.

Everything About Her

Surprisingly, the film dispenses with the traits of celluloid soap and has opted to tell its tale of cancer-stricken real-estate mogul in a straightforward trajectory – minus all the unnecessary twists and turns in plot development and doing away with overt sentimentalizing. Bernal’s roots as a film editor manifest all throughout, especially with both the opening and climactic sequences sparkling with dynamism and dramatic action characterized by the interplay and right balance of perk and grace.

It is somewhat a different Vilma that audiences would see in the film as Bernal has done a good job in persuading the legendary actress to cut down on certain mannerisms that could have marred and gotten in the way of what is bound to be another sterling performance of her career. Vilma is ably aided by earnest efforts from co-stars Locsin and Xian Lim, both of whom have managed to create chemistry with the screen veteran in each of the scenes they respectively share with her.

The cinematic devices and motifs the film employs to drive its narrative have given it much advantage. Particularly noteworthy is the symbolism of the chandelier that Vilma is shown to gaze at in one of the many heartfelt moments of quiet drama the film boasts of. The convulsion scene is carried out in a single take that only an actress of Vilma’s caliber could ever pull off with much aplomb.     Vilma proves her comic mettle and efficacy in at least two scenes. One is the long shot of an open field with her voice heard clarifying with her staff the exact number of executive people she is about to have an exclusive meeting with. Another is the one upstairs at her residence as she confronts Angel’s character with the latter’s wrongly sent phone text referring to Vilma’s character as a creature from hell and a whore.


There is no doubt that the film has all the makings of a huge crowd-pleaser with its combination of high-level filmic craftsmanship, disarming story of filial love, and over-all entertainment value. It is the kind of film that people from all walks may savor for its imparted moral lessons that from time to time they are better off to learn if only for the sake of maintaining one’s sense of sanity and rectitude in life.

An early Women’s Month presentation and Mother’s Day treat rolled into one, the film has also been infused with the message of true altruism that goes beyond the terms and dictates of entrepreneurial philanthropy. That a strictly studio fare to be embedded with such a message makes one wonder. Considering the nation’s state of affairs and social conditions for the longest time, it’s an occurrence that comes close to a miracle and must thereby be an instance in the realm of fantasy.

(This review was originally posted here.)


Posted by on 08 February 2016 in Uncategorized


Silong, Game of the Sexes (Review)

Nonoy L. Lauzon

What began as a waltz between a man and a woman slowly drawn to each other dissolves to a dark tango between battling sexes engaged in some bizarre and twisted game.


One would not guess the twist to what could have been a fairy-tale romance of the adult offbeat variety prefigured in the independent feature Silong.  Starring Piolo Pascual as something of a knight in shining armor, and Rhian Ramos as a damsel in distress. Along the level of the metaphorical, the film was the culminating presentation of last year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival and had its regular theatrical release with no less than Star Cinema as distributor while Heneral Luna marched its way to box-office dominance in September of the immediate past year. Local audiences have the occasion to catch it anew with its current screening run courtesy of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

For a directorial debut effort (from the tandem of writer Roy Sevilla Ho and cast member Jeffrey Hidalgo), the film is quite impressive with its visual flair, knack for arousing intrigue, curiosity and suspense, and fair success in eliciting outstanding performances from its leads. Just when one is convinced that the film is what it exactly professes:  an affectionate drama of two broken souls finding refuge in falling for each other, it turns things around to unravel an unforgettable yarn that totally subverts one’s expectations.

For most part of the film, viewers would find themselves rooting for the protagonists. Both respectively struggle to recover from a love that had gone wasted amidst contrasting circumstances. It is not hard for the audience to sympathize with both characters. They deserve to be cheered and prodded to take a second chance at love. They look good together.  All they need is to surmount the troubles, the wounds and the heartaches of previous failed affairs so that they can then look forward to live happily ever after in each other’s arms. This should have been all there is to the film except that the filmmakers have other things in mind.

It turns out that it is a different ever-after awaiting the amorous couple of the story. At some point, the film lets loose its own sense for the eerie and the spine-tingling.


Needless to say, one has to watch the film to know the real score and actual tale. The beauty of it is that it is still to be seen as a film entirely about love, albeit, of the deconstructed sort that could only arise from the alienation brought forth in the modern world, the culture of impunity that defines the times and the workings of a sick society overrun by miserable people repulsing one another. It is a thriller in more ways than one as it posits and insinuates in all dexterity that the thrill we derive from feeling in love may be the similar burst of energy and mixed emotions we experience in a harrowing moment when we all of a sudden discover ourselves fearing and running for our lives.

(This review was originally posted here.)


Leave a comment

Posted by on 08 February 2016 in Uncategorized