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Sa 'yo Lamang: Movie Review

We can consider "Sa 'yo Lamang" as an ambitious film. It is not ambitious because it stars the biggest and brightest stars of yesterday, today and tomorrow but due to the fact that it mixes the two biggest things in the Filipino culture. Those two big things, if you still haven't guessed, are the concept of the family and the Catholic religion. The family has always been an important part in our local stigma. Words like "hating-kapatid" (literally meaning siblings-share and synonymous to sharing equally) emphasize that alone. Catholicism on the other hand needs no further explanation. Can ambitiousness equate to it being a classic Filipino film? Read on to find out now.

After ten years since abandoning his family, Franco (Christopher de Leon) decides to return and patch things up. Returning was the easy part but fixing things seem impossible as the different members of the family either don't remember him or hate his guts to the bone. Things turn for the worse as each one have their own personal issues to deal with. Dianne (Bea Alonzo) has served as the family's backbone since her father left. She is engaged to a man that truly loves her but does she love the him back? Coby (Coco Martin) is a recluse son that has given up his dreams because his sister wants him to be more responsible. James (Enchong Dee) is considered to be the most talented child. He is expected to not only pass with flying colors but to be the future breadwinner of the family. Lisa (Miles Ocampo) is the youngest of the siblings and she doesn't even remember her father. Amanda (Lorna Tolentino) has been brave ever since Franco left her and yet, there are secrets that may just prove shocking for their whole family.

When you remember "Tanging Yaman", a Star Cinema offering ten years ago, you’ll definitely see that it is very similar with "Sa 'yo Lamang". This might be solely due to the fact that they both have the same director and both movies are centered on family and religion. However, we would tell you why "Sa 'yo Lamang" is a far inferior version of the earlier movie.

First, even though "Tanging Yaman" featured a lot of stars, the movie was able to strike a balance among them. No star needed to be given extra minutes or a better storyline because every character complimented each other well. "Sa 'yo Lamang" tried its best to give each supporting character their minutes that the movie suffered poorly from having just too much story line for the viewer to digest. That and it had a tendency of leaving scenes hanging for long periods of time (worse that some key plot points were resolved in an instant). For example, why did Coco Martin suddenly like Shaina Magdayao again, when he had been loathing her for days? Second, "Tanging Yaman" gave just the right amount of dramatic scenes but for "Sa 'yo Lamang", we felt that some were just too much. Did they have to show solid 20 minutes of Lorna Tolentino dying?

We’re afraid that this is another case of putting too many stars in one film for the movie to sell just like the trend of many Hollywood films these days. Although we cannot say anything bad about the acting from the power house cast, especially Lorna Tolentino, Christopher De Leon and Bea Alonzo. Coco Martin was as always, brilliant and Enchong Dee even had his moments. However, so many things were going on with each character that it wasn’t even believable anymore – can all those unfortunate things happen in one family, at one given time?

Rating: 2 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- superb acting from the Philippines’ finest
- some scenes are touching and moving

Why you shouldn’t watch it:
- too many unfortunate things happening in one family is no longer believable
- some dramatic scenes might have just been added to “force” audience to cry

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