Monday, December 31, 2018

MMFF 2018: Review of RAINBOW'S SUNSET: Between Bosom Buddies

December 30, 2018

Former senator Ramon Estrella is now 84 years old. One day, he surprised his family that he was temporarily leaving their home in order to care for his closest friend, Alfredo Veneracion, who was about to die from cancer. While his dear wife Sylvia condoned her husband's move, his three feisty adult children (government employee Emman, town mayor Georgina and NGO worker Marife) resisted it as they fear it would trigger scandalous rumors of homosexuality and ruin their family's good name.

The senior cast was powerhouse and is no doubt the main draw of this family drama. In this age of teen romance movies, how often could you get a project featuring two of the most durable stars of Philippine show business, Eddie Garcia and Gloria Romero, plus theater legend Tony Mabesa, all in their 80s, in the lead roles? Everybody was expecting them to sweep the acting trophies during the awards night. 

However, that was not to be. This year was a banner year for Eddie Garcia. AT the ripe old age of 89, he had three projects where he was the lead actor, and in all three he was nominated for Best Actor. He had already won for "ML" in the Cinemalaya and "Hintayan sa Langit" in QCinema. Garcia missed the triple crown when the Best Actor award went to Dennis Trillo instead for this MMFF. (He did get a Jury Prize as a consolation prize.)

I sort of understand why that could have happened. The way the script was written, his character Ramon did not exactly get a lot of major dramatic moments for Garcia to flex his acting muscles. Ramon's decision to movie in with Fredo was the event that triggered the melodramatic series of events in his family. But as for Ramon himself, he was chill and unperturbed about it, calmly taking care of his best friend and other life partner. In his usual laidback relaxed style, Garcia made the most of his scenes, but unfortunately, the board of judges were looking for something else (more tears perhaps, as Trillo had?) 

On the other hand, Ms. Gloria Romero was an effortlessly luminous leading actress even at age 85. I cannot believe that "Tanging Yaman" was 18 years ago, when Ms. Romero played the matriarch of a family in crisis and won Best Actress awards for it. It was not that her role as Sylvia was realy better written, but Romero had such a powerful screen presence that a mere sad look or crack in her voice could already make tears well in my eyes. While they were competent in their respective films, Anne Curtis and Kim Chiu still have miles to go to even hope to reach Romero's level of acting for the big screen. 

After watching the film I thought the third member of their troika, UP Theater Arts Professor Emeritus Tony Mabesa, 83, should have been co-nominated for Best Actor, instead of Supporting (which he won). Garcia's best scenes were those he had with Mabesa. My favorite was that when Ramon and Fredo were sitting in the front yard, laughing without a care in the world. Romero's best scenes were those she had with Mabesa. EVERY scene Sylvia and Fredo shared together was a tearjerker, and that is not an exaggeration.

There was a lot of time invested on the annoyingly commonplace, noisy bickering among the Estrella siblings, which for me detracted from the charm of the film. Tirso Cruz III was over-the-top as the eldest sibling Emman who had to deal with a viral video scandal. An issue about an under-the-table deal he had as an assessor was left hanging. Aiko Melendez was in her typical haughty rich matron mode again as the mayor -- shades of Emilia Ardiente all over again. Sunshine Cruz role tended to be too preachy, no wonder her siblings hated her for it. There was that side issue about a boyfriend 20 years her junior, which was not really necessary. Theirs were simply not the story I came to see, sorry. 

I really would have liked it better if the writer Eric Ramos and director Joel Lamangan would have just showed us more about the equilaterally triangular relationship among the seniors. This was the interesting aspect of the plot that made this project unique. They already had flashback scenes featuring Shido Roxas, Max Collins and Ross Pesigan as the young Ramon, Sylvia and Fredo,. They should have added more. A lot of events that transpired in their younger days were merely narrated in the dialogue, instead of being shown onscreen, which I thought was a wasted opportunity. 7/10.


  1. I agree how lazy the screenwriting was. It was all tell and no show. I don't think that the subplots made the story go forward and should have focused more on Garcia, Mabesa and Romero. I was surprised that given your lengthy review, it was a 7. I gave it a B- with the trio's performance as the redeeming factor.

  2. I like the it an indie film?