Mama’s Girl under Regal Entertainment is the launching starrer of Sofia Andres featuring her tandem with Diego Loyzaga. It also marks Sylvia Sanchez' return to Regal Films after her launch as a sexy star back in 1989 with Student Body. Now she plays Abby’s (Sofia) mom Mina in this curve ball of a heartfelt family drama/love story, which will catch your emotions by surprise. It also marks Direk Connie S.A. Macatuno's return to directing full length features, with this one being her first mainstream venture. In a way, she has been a mentor to me when it comes to my directing endeavor. She influenced me a lot ever since she directed two of my music videos under Star Records back in the 90s, when I was still making albums as a recording artist. Such a throwback, right? But now that I’ve made full disclosure, I believe I can still discuss the film as impartially as I can...
From the trailer, what intrigued me with this film was its premise. Is it a mother-daughter family drama or a love story? I am pleasantly surprised though, how it managed to be both at the same time. So, you can expect both tear-jerking family instances as well as the expected kilig-laden moments. +2
All it takes sometimes is just one scene to establish a relationship to push a level of believability when you’re telling a story and this film does just that to show what kind of mother and daughter relationship Abby and Mina had. We see Mina cheering her daughter up with her personal antics as they jump up and down the bed with a broken heel that has made Abby’s tripping-down-the-aisle experience, viral. The type of relationship demonstrated is almost like a friendship that makes this aspect of the film even more touching and eventually heartbreaking. +3
I want to keep away from spoilers as much as I can but there are so many essential scenes I want to point out that would give away some plot points. So, I’ll just discuss them really vaguely. Two of the most touching scenes for me in the film are: Abby crying in the shower, where Macatuno was effectively able to turn a situation, usually taken as erotic into something devoid of that cliché and just full of heart; .andaA passage of time transition scene on Abby’s bed that conveys so many events and emotions in just a matter of seconds. There, just take note of those. +3
So, Mina walks in to find Abby with her boyfriend, Zach (Jameson Blake) in the act of dressing up from you-know-what-deed. What happened next will shock you... Just kidding. This is actually another powerful scene that tackles chestnuts such as this and handles it with masterful restraint, focusing only on the vital sentiments which are repentance and forgiveness. Not much words were said, just genuine emotions conveyed. Bravo! +3
[related: In Focus: Meet Sofia Andres, Selfie Slayer]
There are some instances though that the camera moved too much which was a little bit distracting. Camera movements should convey a certain mood or emotion but at these times, it just left me confused. -3
I know that it is blatantly stated in the script that Abby’s character is a cry baby but I feel that there was just too much crying. Just my personal taste though. -2
Finally, the most-awaited first kiss of the Sofia-Diego love team! It all happens in a car parked overlooking the city lights, which is pretty romantic. The scene gives kilig in a whole new level with a quirky ending. Something that their fans would really love. +3
An undeniable strength of this material is the solid acting ensemble. Sofia Andres is a star to watch out for as she successfully headlines this film while Diego Loyzaga provides palpable support as the ever supportive best friend which makes their love team an easy sell. Well, I’m sold! Jameson Blake does what is needed to provide conflict as the douchebag boyfriend 'cause there really isn’t much to do with his character. And, of course, Sylvia Sanchez, provides the most integral support as the modern mom to the millennials whom you would love to be your mom, too, 'cause she’s the coolest! +5
I hope I’m not perceived as biased in saying that another significant strength of the film was the way it was handled by Macatuno. There was really nothing too special about the story and it would have gone south with all the cliché situations that were presented. But the film went against tropes to make us experience them in a different light while they could have ended up being banal storylines. +4
But the direction did not save the script, which was a bit too clumpy for me. I feel that some storylines could have been dropped to make the film more compact and streamlined and less than its two hour TRT (total running time). -3
Oh, I just have to add that the production design was really pleasant, making the film visually delightful. I could also see Macatuno’s works of art, sporadically spread all throughout the film like easter eggs. Check out her works on her instagram @iamlokal and you’ll get what I mean. +2
[related: In Focus: From Newbie To Hottie, Diego Loyzaga Rises As The Matinee Idol Of Your Dreams]
For a total of 17 points, which could very well stand for 17 oppas (finger hearts) 'cause there is so much to love about Mama’s Girl. Far from being perfect, it makes up for it with its undeniable charm. Now here’s a movie that I can recommend for viewing with the whole family. Where was this during the MMFF, which needed much more truly entertaining family films?
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Banner image taken from Loyzaga's Instagram