Saturday, January 15, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW | Rosario (2010)

I think I have carried with me the "film reviewing" habit in my film classes that I felt it appropriate to give my analysis on the films I have seen recently. For this week I decided to go check out this movie entitled ROSARIO directed by Albert Martinez starring Jennylyn Mercado as its lead star.


The story revolved around Rosario, daughter of a rich parents in Isabela, Philippines who own a tobacco plantation during the American colonial period. Rosario grew up in New York and came to the Philippines for a visit. During her stay she met Vicente, the hacienda administrator. The two fell in love and elopes against Rosario's parents prohibition. The couple stayed in Manila where they started their own family. They were blessed with children and life became smooth until Rosario met Alberto. Rosario and Alberto had an affair and upon its discovery, Vicente filed for a divorce. Rosario and Alberto were then exile to HongKong and later on returned to Manila. However Alberto deserted Rosario and their son Hesus in a shabby apartment. There Rosario met Carding, the nephew of the apartment landlord. The landlord took advantage of Rosario's predicament and had sexual intercourse with her. Carding was so furious he tried to kill his uncle and after the fiasco in the apartment, Carding begged Rosario to leave with him. At the end of the story, Rosario chose to leave alone and bid everyone goodbye.

American Fashion

Manila Carnival Queen

Laundry for 10 cents

The Good Points: 
Cinematography and Thespian Prowess

Let's begin with the good points first. I am impressed with the cinematography of the film particularly the location and set. It even won the best editing award in the 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival. They were able to highlight some important American period images such as the American cars, the hair, the clothes, etc.

I was also particularly impressed by the performances of the following people: Eula Valdez (Dona Adela Perrera), Yul Servo (Vicente Velez), Sid Lucero (Carding Arenas) and Isabel Oli (Carmela Hernandez). These people gave justice to their roles and I am particularly awed because albeit short screen exposure, their acting truly hit me all the while I was getting bored with Jennylyn's obvious lack of characterization. I just wished they were recognized by Metro Manila Film Festival. 

Yul Servo as Vicente Velez

Eula Valdez as Dona Adela Perrera

Isabel Oli as Carmela Hernandez

Sid Lucero as Carding Arenas
Personally, I think Isabel Oli would have been a better Rosario than Jennylyn. Isabel was so amazing with her ability to shift from the innocent Carmela in the province to the more liberated woman in Manila. She was so natural and would have really been a perfect Rosario. I don't know what they were thinking when they gave the role to Jennylyn.

The Bad Points: 
Jennylyn, Commercialization, Narrative and Boring Shots

Jennylyn, lacking depth of characterization
There are myriads of weaknesses in this movie and it's just disappointing that this big budgeted film would end up in an almost amateurish production. First, let me point out Jennylyn's case. She is beautiful no question about it. What I am talking here is her lack of characterization. I felt that she didn't have enough depth to act the part of a rich woman coming back to the Philippines, dangerously falling in love with the wrong man. There was no fire in her. It was almost like watching a regular Starstruck survivor who's managed to learn acting in a few weeks. The point is- something was missing in Rosario. I'm assuming it was her young innocent looks, but then again Vilma Santos was almost as young when she played Sister Stella L, but the role became a legend. So in this case, the problem really is Jennylyn. Through her acting deficiency, everything else followed.

Sister Stella L (at a young age)
Second, the film felt like a commercial for ABC 5. Surely when I we see corned beef in the background of Kris Aquino's movies we feel nauseated that even in movies companies wouldn't leave us in peace. And now this! The movie could have easily been a historical narrative of ABC 5 at least with that we wouldn't care about the lousy acting. But this is supposed to be a good movie. It almost was if not only for the face of ABC 5 in the background.

The logo that failed Rosario
Third, the narrative was also incomplete or just lame. Rosario was portrayed to be a woman with liberated attitude in the first part of the movie but suddenly became tamed. I couldn't help thinking about Rosanna Roces at this point. When I think of Rosanna in her movies I wish that Rosario's character was more like that. Free and adventurous. But the character I think was as confused as Jennylyn. Case in point- she was having an affair with another man but was so submissive to her real husband. Why won't her character put up a fight if she was really in control of her life? I think the story failed on that. 
Rosanna Roces and her realistic performances
Finally, the camera direction was a bit distracting sometimes. Jump cuts from one character to another was so abrupt the viewer could easily distinguish the camera changes. There were also obvious restrictions in long shots particularly in crowded scenes. I just wished the director could have opted to utilize non conventional shots like areal or moving shots to make things unpredictable.

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