A Mother's Story: Movie Review

It seems that as time passes by, more and more Filipinos are taking the big risk of leaving the country for a better life. We like to think that they haven't lost hope in our wonderful country but basically because opportunities here are almost non-existent and less rewarding. But life isn't black and white and leaving the Philippines for better opportunities isn't as easy as one-two-three. You may get more money but what do you really loss especially if you have a family that needs you back at home? "A Mother's Story" tries to paint the reality that most OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) mothers go through in the United States - of being lonely, away from your kids and being an illegal alien with no rights. It tried but it so utterly failed on many points that what it produces on the big screen is ironically a big disconnect from reality.

Medy (Pokwang) is a make-up artist who stands as her family's only source of income as her husband (Nonie Buencamino) broke his leg and cannot work. One day, she was selected to accompany her client to the United States for a performance. She promised her family that she will return after seven days but while in America, she stumbles upon her former best friend Helen (Beth Tamayo) who tries to convince her to stay as an illegal alien. Medy does not like the idea but she eventually gives in when she finds out that her new-born baby has a lung impairment and will need constant, expensive medication. The whole week stay turns into seven long years and now, Medy is finally coming home - will her sacrifices bear fruit or will it bring more hurt and pains to her and her family?

We really feel for "A Mother's Story". On one hand, we applaud the effort. What it tries to do and what it's message profoundly wants to say to every Filipino is not an easy thing to accomplish. On the other hand, it fails miserably on so many fronts that it is not an easy film to watch and it is a film that could have done more if they executed things not so haphazardly. For a film that tries to reflect reality, it actually feels far from it. The story has a lot of forced elements that you simply feel that they are trying to push the story forward only to the writer's liking. Most apparent is Beth Tamayo's character Helen and Medy's chance meeting in the US and the surprise reveal of Medy's son to her in the final moments of the film. Another huge problem for "A Mother's Story" is how things got resolved in the end. Rayver's character King hated his mother so much but this all gets resolved in a snap of a finger. It was as if they were running out of screening time and the director just decided to end things abruptly. There was just a huge inequality on how much time was spent on Medy's life in the US against her life here in the Philippines (which we feel should have had the bigger emphasis really).

On the acting department, Pokwang dares to do more than comedy but in this regard, we can say that she needs a lot of improvement. While she does shine on several of her crying scenes, everything else from her just felt amateurish. This is also true for the Americans who were cast in the film who feels like they were just grabbed off from the streets. Nonie Buencamino and Rayver Cruz in our opinion were the best and brightest. In fact, Rayver Cruz's performance was the most believable out of everyone else. In the end, "A Mother's Story" just feels rushed. It could have done so much more with more balanced scenes, better writing, better actors and less absurd reactions. As-is, it's a pretty messy and amateurish film that had potential to be a real-look into what hardships OFWs face day-to-day but really it isn't.

Rating: 1 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- it is a tear-jerker on some parts
- Rayver Cruz and Nonie Buencamino has wonderful performances

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- most actors just sucked badly even the extras
- the story was totally unbelievable and the ending and resolution just enamored us with its fantastical feel

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