Angelica Panganiban, Bea Alonzo and Richard Gutierrez, stars of the movie: Pure friendship above all things.
The ties that bind
Pablo A. Tariman (The Philippine Star) - December 10, 2019 - 12:00am

Film review: Unbreakable

MANILA, Philippines — Mae Cruz-Alviar’s Unbreakable is reminiscent of Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise in terms of building a grand portrait of ties that bind between women friends.

The comparison ends there because we are dealing with Filipino characters and Filipino quirks and the Filipino brand of nobility that never quite get a good substantial treatment from local directors, except in that film of long ago, Moral by Marilou Diaz-Abaya.

There is also that box-office mindset that a film is supposed to end up a flop if there is no matinee idol leading man in the picture.

But Unbreakable breaks that myth with a very strong film on female bonding with a token leading man (Richard Gutierrez) as the husband who ended up with two friends — one by design with Mariel Salvador (Bea Alonzo) and the other by accident with Deena Yambao (Angelica Panganiban).

Angelica provides the grand canyon effects with her talky, if not, impulsive character revealing her weak and strong points.

True, their friendship is made of stronger stuff a man cannot possibly come in between them.

But he did as husband of the first one (Richard) and friend of sister-in-law of the second one (Ian Veneracion). They end up being married to the same family which is warm to Angelica but extra lukewarm to Bea.

The proverbial mother-in-law comes to life in the grand portrayal of Gloria Diaz whose acting comes into her own with a good screenplay.

But to go back to the female protagonists determined to be friends by hook or by crook, Unbreakable delivers a kind of chamber acting that brings out the best in the two leading ladies.

Angelica is naturally impulsive and easily hoodwinked; Bea provides the good balance with her brand of acting subtlety.

Indeed, the two provide examples of competent acting prowess that works for the characters and the story in general.

But midway into the film, the talky side gets into your system and indeed you are inclined to believe you are in the middle of highly-anticipated confrontations in a popular afternoon teleserye.

But Angelica and Bea carry the film with their unique brand of chemistry that makes you overlook the excesses of the film.

Sadly, the screenplay doesn’t allow them moments of self-reflection on which to figure out their friendship in equally human terms.

But in this film, temporary separation is the great leveler and source of understanding and forgiveness for characters who lost their moral footing while going through another personal crisis.

By and large, Unbreakable is a good relationship film and the leading man (Richard) finally gets a substantial exposure that makes moviegoers contemplate that women friends need not die for their espouses to keep a friendship and live a good life.

The presence of two competent actresses is a good asset of the film. It allows the director to weave a story of ties that truly bind.

How symbolic it is when Mariel tells her friend Deena during a turning point of their friendship that no man can stand in between their friendship. Or something to that effect.

As it is, the film is an actor’s vehicle more than a director’s.

Angelica’s outbursts find soothing, cooling effect in the hands of Bea who realizes she need not compete with her friend’s histrionics to get attention.

Unbreakable is still showing in cinemas after a week of good box-office showing.

UNBREAKABLE
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