Distance (2018): Movie Review

We all know how Filipino films are typically structured and we always expect that good ending. The family drama film "Distance" by Perci Intalan bucks that trend by showing the intricacies of a family torn by deep-seeded secrets that were never resolved head-on. Don't expect happy endings or even perfectly scripted exchanges because "Distance" focuses on what would most likely happen in real-life and that's its biggest asset at the end of it all.

Five years after she abandoned her family, Liza (Iza Calzado) finally returns. But the process of healing and acceptance is easier said than done especially when it comes to her two daughters Karla (Therese Malvar) and Therese (Elia Ilano) who struggle to understand what really happened half a decade ago. Liza and her husband Anton (Nonie Buencamino) kept things from them for their own protection. As the days pass by, the family must contend with the reality that time may heal wounds but for how long - no one really knows.
"Distance" is at its most powerful in its most awkward moments when its characters fail to salvage an exchange or conversation - where words don't come out easy, come out bluntly, or don't come out at all. "Distance" is a film that thrives in what is real and what is tangible and not what is dramatic. In the process, there may be less scenes that come out and end with a bang but the deadening silence is more maddening and more moving than any perfectly delivered script. At the core of its success were the actors who delivered outstandingly. The main cast had poignant and powerful performances that truly encapsulated and showcased the hidden pain each were dealing with. If we could choose one actor that truly stood out, it would be Therese Malvar easily. The only real concern we had with "Distance" was its narrative. The film deviated the focus away from our family with several subplots. These subplots help us understand the real reasons for Liza's abandonment of her family but we had issues on how these were delivered and paced out. They just felt under-developed and haphazardly concluded. For example, the one for the character of Karla just felt sorely out of place. While it mimicked her mother's conundrum, we just couldn't understand its significance into the whole family dynamic and the film would have been as effective without it. At the end of the day, "Distance" won't be for everyone. If you want your films to help you escape the dreary realities of life, then this definitely won't be for you. But "Distance" was fantastic as it was able to really show how people are truly flawed, that there are varying levels of love, and that moving on and acceptance cannot be grab at a whim's notice.
Rating: 3 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- powerful and outstanding acting performances from the cast
- a very realistic take on drama

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- if you want films that escape reality then this definitely won't work for you
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