Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Ang Tanging Ina
Star Cinema
Cast: Ai-Ai Delas Alas, Edu Manzano, Jestoni Alarcon, Tonton Gutierrez, Shaina Magdayao, Marvin Agustin, Alwyn Uytingco, Serena Dalrymple, Jiro Manio, Yuki Kadooka, Marc Acueza, Carlo Aquino, Heart Evangelista, Nikki Valdez, Eugene Domingo, Dennis Padilla, John Pratts, etc. etc.
Director: Wenn Deramas

Funny. Moving. Unapologetic. Three words I’d use to describe this Filipino cinematic gem.

As always with such films, I went into the theater with no expectations and allowed the film to take me where it willed. And, man, was I thrown hither and thither.

The plot is simple. Delas Alas takes the cudgels of taking care of her 12 children from three husbands who all died by absurd means. In doing so, she’s highly misunderstood by her children who each have problems of their own (save, perhaps, for the two infants).

Ang Tanging Ina doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a comedy film with a heart, laden with references to recent Pinoy celluloid melodramas, and a pacing rarely seen if ever in Filipino films. It’s funny, period. The introduction gets the highest points, and is worth the price of admission.

I give the drama portions top points, too. Anyone who’s a mother, or who is highly aware of the hardships mothers go through, would be able to relate to the emotional highlights. Delas Alas may not be the most attractive actress on the block, and it can be argued that she’s funny no matter what emotion she expresses, but it didn’t detract me from the weight of her dramatic moments. Yes, world, I shed tears twice during the course of the movie and, to me, this is what gives value to Ang Tanging Ina.

Delas Alas has a gift of comedic timing, deftly heightened by Deramas’ able direction, and complemented by Eugene Domingo who plays her, um, occasional sidekick. Deramas also deserves a great amount of credit for being able to add extra punches to most of the younger casts’ otherwise so-so performances. While some parts of the film felt jumpy and uncoordinated, these are negligible and peripheral.

Applause all around. A must-watch box-office hit. Dean, being overtly critical especially when it comes to Pinoy films, couldn’t contain himself during the credit rolls where key scenes were replayed. Ako pa ang nahiya. (Thanks, Dean, for the free tix!)

My Rating: 8 out of 10

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