In My Mother's Skin: Movie Review

In My Mother's Skin: Pure Hindered Potential

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Kenneth Dagatan's "In My Mother's Skin" is a film that teeters on the edge of brilliance. With its stunning cinematography, unique premise, and a penchant for gruesome gore, it offers moments of sheer cinematic excellence. But it falters heavily in its narrative and character development leading to a frustrating experience and a missed opportunity overall.
Set against the backdrop of World War II, the film unfolds in the war-torn colonial home of Tala (Felicity Kyle Napuli), a 14-year-old daughter of a textile merchant, her ailing mother Ligaya (Beauty Gonzalez), and her younger brother Bayani (James Mavie Estrella). When Tala's father departs to aid the Americans, the family finds itself isolated in their forest mansion. With Ligaya's health deteriorating rapidly, Tala meets a mysterious fairy who provides her with a magical insect to save her mother. This sets the stage for a narrative that begins with relief but spirals into unforeseen consequences.

Dagatan's mastery lies in crafting a slow burn horror experience, but it's not for those seeking quick thrills. Do not let its rather timid running time at around 90 minutes fool you, each scene unfolds with a methodical pace, expertly luring viewers into a web of terrifying surprises. The cinematography, almost an art form in itself, is a visual feast for the audience, adding to the film's allure. Yet, it is this very meticulous approach that becomes a double-edged sword - or so it seems. In the pursuit of crafting exquisite scenes, character development takes a backseat. Beyond Tala and Bayani, we barely get to know the other major characters, missing an opportunity to explore the hinted themes of greed, corruption, and betrayal. Furthermore, the film suffers from abrupt scene transitions that, even in a fantastical context, leave logic hanging by a thread. "In My Mother's Skin" is a beautiful but narratively flawed creation. Kenneth Dagatan's vision and technical prowess shine through, but the lack of depth in character development and disjointed storytelling hinder the film's potential. Despite these shortcomings, there's an undeniable sense of anticipation for Dagatan's future work, as he refines his craft, hopefully striking a more harmonious balance between technical artistry and storytelling depth.

Rating: 2 and a half reels

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