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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Movie Review: I America

Image courtesy of Instagram: belapadilla

Main Cast: Bela Padilla
Director: Ivan Andrew Payawal
MTRCB Rating: R-16

I America is a story about the life of half-American Erica Berry (Bela Padilla), a complicated woman born to an ex- prostitute mother (Elizabeth Oropesa) and an American father. Erica represents the struggles of thousands of abandoned half-American children in Olongapo left for good by their fathers. In Erica’s case, she has strongly resolved to find him and her own identity - hook, line and sinker.

The drama comedy film begins with Erica, a part-time model, doing a VTR (video tape recorder) for a tv commercial she is auditioning for in Manila. Thereafter, she boards a bus going home to Olongapo City to a loving woman who is not her mother but a family she calls her own.

Despite her hatred for her biological mother, Erica’s close circle of half-American friends give her much comfort and stability, with one common goal and treating each other like fraternity sisters.

No doubt, Bela played her character well, showing her ease with comedy, too. Erica elicited some laughs every time she converses in English with great difficulty. In other scenes though, director Payawal could have maximized her performance and the story’s potential had his narrative been more convincing and committed. As it turned out, the movie looks disorganized and half-baked, with a smorgasbord of issues going on, thus missing the vital points that it wants to put across.

Cinematographer Carlo Mendoza using a handheld camera shot some of the scenes quite beautifully, but there are several parts, too, that will make the viewer dizzy, obviously due to the unsteady handling of the equipment making  them appear blurred. Wonder why this huge lapse was overlooked. 

Some of the movie’s scenes struggle to be relevant including some jokes that are too old, corny and painfully redundant. Ditto with several dramatic scenes that are overkill, notably the brawl between Erica and her jealous black sister which are devoid of reason to be justified. There were cringe-worthy reactions, too, especially when Erica learns that her prostitute sister gets pregnant by the man she (Erica) mistakenly thought to be her savior.

Elizabeth Oropesa remains to be an acting giant, definitely credible as an aged, foul-mouthed ex-prostitute who abandoned her daughter early on. Only actors of La Oropesa’s caliber can deliver such crassness and vulgarity with aplomb. Among her memorable scenes are her showdowns with Erica, when she confronts her about her real father and Oropesa responds like a loose cannon, her mouth loaded with filth and obscenities that can only come from a hard core flesh trader.  

Overall, I America’s objective is commendable, but disappoints on many points, resulting to an overblown but underwhelming product. Thankfully, the good  choice of actors, Bela Padilla and Elizabeth Oropesa, will at least help save the day.

The movie now showing in cinemas, has other stars - Joe Vargas, Julz Savard, Kate Bautista, Lui Manansala, Matt Evans, Raflesia Bravo, Rhyzza Kafilas, Rob Rownd, Sheena Ramos and Thou Reyes.

30 comments:

  1. I watched it last night, we were only four, and I was the lone woman! Disappointed with the movie.

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  2. Question: Bakit ang indie movie na napakaliit na thousands lang naman ng budget, pero ang movie ticket price ay ka-level ng regular movie na ang production cost ay in the millions of pesos. Pakisagot po ng maayos. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. cinemalaya 150 lang ah kahit sa ayala?

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    2. @228am - Indie Film as a whole ang ibig niyang sabihin. Hindi lang naman Cinemalaya ang Indie Films!

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    3. ang ibig ko ring sabihin di naman lahat. ang cinemalaya kako 150 lang.. like nitong I america. so depende yan..

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    4. AnonymousSeptember 23, 2016 at 12:16 AM <-- so? bakit yung mga hollywood movies halos kalevel lang ng local mainstream yung ticket kahit na napakalaki ng budget nila! LOL

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    5. Pwedeng dahilan kc di nmn ngbabago ang "rent at tax" ng movie house. Ang indie maliit lng ang budget nyan s production at halos walang commercials. Kya kung kumita tulad ng heneral luna swerte nlng nila yon

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    6. 9:32 hahaha may point

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    7. kase sure naman namababawi ng hollywood movies yun dahil ipapalabas world wide.. ang indie ba? ni di nga nationwide eh.

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  3. Bet ko sa trailer yung sinabi ni erica na pagbalik ko dito galing states bibilan kita ng lotion oara gumanda ka naman

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  4. watched it sa ccp.. and I loved it. hahaha sobrang tawa ko sa ibang scenes... dito ko nagustuhan si bela padilla ..

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  5. Mukhang foreign film sya gawa ng iba ibang kulay ng mga artista. Galing ni Elizabeth oropesa rito. Pero may indie feel sya gaya ng napakalikot at nkakahiong shots sa simula.

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  6. I am going to watch this movie on my restday. I am a fan of bela...

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  7. I am a fan of bela and will watch this movie on my restday...

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  8. Seems like another tired, rehashed, recycled, cliched depiction of pilipines life.

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  9. Saw it sa Cinemalaya. Ganda!! :) Some serious, funny parts, touching..

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  10. TUOS, PAMILYA ORDINARYO AND MERCURY RISING ARE THE ONLY WORTHWHILE MOVIES IN CINEMALAYA! EXCLAMATION POINT!

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    Replies
    1. I love tuos! havent watched pamilya ordinaryo and mercury rising tho.

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    2. Beks, Mercury is Mine / Hollywood film yung Mercury Rising - kaloka ka! Hahaha!

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  11. Saw it nung Cinemalaya. Mahusay talagang actress si Bela! At bagay na bagay si Elizabeth Oropesa sa role.

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  12. Ang ganda ng movie na to! Ang galing ng cast! The best yung dasal scene... grabe! Sobrang nakakatawa! Tapos everyone applauded after ng reveal sa end ng movie. I would watch it again!

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    Replies
    1. true! same reaction here!

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    2. I have read other legit reviews on this movie, pareho lang din ng review ni FP. May good points, pero mas lamang yung nega. I believe them coz I watched it, too. Nakatulog ako. :(

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  13. Bkit ung acting ni bela pilit at same den sa acting nya sa AP ung atake nya ganun na ganun. Honest comment ko yan at kapansin pansin oh ung mga bulag pakirepeat na makita ulit. At take note TH si bela un na.

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    Replies
    1. Ikaw lang ang ata ang nagsabing th si Bela. A lot of people commended her performance sa AP. Naovershadow nga ang leading lady dun.

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  14. Maganda din Ang Kusina and I America movies we saw at Cinemalaya. People laughed, cried.. Audience clapped their hands, applauded at d end.

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  15. Maganda din ang "Kusina" and "I America", among movies we saw at Cinemalaya. People laughed, cried.. Audience clapped their hands, applauded at d end.! :)

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  16. i hope Pamilya Ordinaryo, Mercury is Mine and other Cinemalaya films will get a regular screening din.

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  17. Keep up the good work bela. Sana artists katilad mo ang mas sikat kaysa mga walang saysay na mga celebs. Di maryno g mag acting sumisikat sa pilipinas kalika. Peri magagali g na artista at movies di masyadontinatangkilik. Nakakahiya. Its like announcing to the whole world that we are dumb people and proud if it.

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