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10 Filipino Movies That Will Leave You Speechless

Updated on June 30, 2015

The Philippine film industry is ailing from increasing viewer apathy and lack of support from the Philippine government (added to the fact that there are legislation that actually hinder their growth). However, this doesn’t mean that the country has no films to offer with regard to quality. Far from it. There are a lot of Filipino movies both from the mainstream and indie industry that can leave you speechless. Here are 10 examples:

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#10 That Thing Called Tadhana

Synopsis

The film follows a woman who’s been traveling while trying to recover from a failed relationship, and a man that she just met on the plane ride through happenstance. They decide to travel together for pragmatic reasons while helping each other cope and move on with their past relationships.

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Things That Will Break Your Heart

  • The male protagonist’s past relationship ended up in failure because he wasn’t ready for marriage when his partner asked, but when he finally got his affairs in order and was willing to get hitched, his partner has already found someone else.
  • The female protagonist, on the other hand, had to be away from her partner due to her career. She offered the guy a chance to work overseas as well so they can be together, but the guy refused. One day, she gave in and went home in order to surprise her partner but she found out that the guy was already cheating on her.

#9 Magnifico

Synopsis

Magnifico follows the titular young boy (nicknamed “Ikoy”), who is not so bright but gifted with a positive attitude that allows him to give joy and hope to the people around him, even in the face of poverty and mortality.

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Things That Will Break Your Heart

  • Magnifico’s family is already poor and his sister is suffering from cerebral palsy, but things got worse when his older brother loses his scholarship.
  • Ikoy’s grandmother is found out to have stomach cancer, which has reached terminal stage. Ikoy tried his best to prepare a proper funeral for her (even at the point of trying to create the coffin by himself), but various challenges prevent him from accomplishing the task.
  • Ikoy, in an ironic twist of fate, died first and ended up using the coffin that he made for his grandmother.

#8 Tanging Yaman

Synopsis

Tanging Yaman centers on a family separated by physical and emotional distance, which have to settle a land dispute while the matriarch succumbs to a debilitating disease.

Things That Will Break Your Heart

  • Seeing a family unit fall apart due to jealousy and insecurity, especially when money comes into the equation.
  • The family’s matriarch used to be the voice of authority and can mediate in the disputes between the family members, but when she succumbs to her illness, the family members just find it as another excuse to bicker with each other.
  • The hopelessness in the matriarch’s pleadings will tear at your gutstrings, particularly towards the parts when she feels hopeless while struggling with her condition, while at the same time seeing her family fall apart at the seams.

#7 The Trial

Synopsis

The Trial follows the mentally challenged student Ron-Ron, who has been accused of raping his teacher Bessy. Ron-Ron’s case proves to be a special one not only because of his mental disability, but also because of the connection between him and the people who are defending him in court.

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Things That Will Break Your Heart

  • Actor John Lloyd Cruz’ portrayal of Ron-Ron is very realistic, simply because he studied with a psychologist in order to learn how to act like one, resulting in a nuanced and believable portrayal instead of a ridiculous one.
  • The film will try to play with your expectations a little bit, as Ron-Ron’s disposition naturally gives you a reason to give him the benefit of the doubt, and then the film throws you for a loop by revealing information that puts his innocence into question, such as a penchance for pornography.
  • Bessy’s situation is worse, not only was she the victim, her aunt and guardian indirectly punished her for it by assuming that she brought the whole thing on herself.

#6 Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros

Synopsis

A coming of age story from the perspective of a 12 year old gay boy, Maxi, who lives in the slums with his father and brothers, who are all petty thieves. Complicating matters is his affection for the handsome young policeman Victor, who threatens his family’s livelihood.

Things That Will Break Your Heart

  • The film does a good job of establishing the bond between Maxi and his family, showing that even though they are petty criminals, they still care about each other better than other families do, judging by the fact that they fully accept Maxi’s sexuality. This set up makes the latter parts of the film all the more painful.
  • During the latter parts of the film, Maxi’s father was killed by Victor’s superior officer during an incident, which leads to Maxi choosing to stay away from Victor, even if the policeman tried to renew their friendship. The last part is affecting, with Maxi momentarily hesitating before deciding to move on and forget Victor.

#5 Batang PX

Synopsis

Batang PX is about Amboy, who is the son of a temporarily-stationed American soldier to a Filipina. Amboy’s wish while growing up was to meet his father, but when he finally did meet the person, things didn’t turn out the way they were planned.

Things That Will Break Your Heart

  • The scene where his parents are fighting will break your heart, it was unnerving and will hit too close to home for most people.
  • In the scene, Danny (his mother’s partner) was beating up Tessie (his mom). When he tried to help, Danny manhandled him and locked him in the bathroom. When their relatives tried to help, Danny shut them out and locked the gates, leaving the poor Tessie alone with her abusive partner.

#4 Thy Womb

Synopsis

Thy Womb follows a middle aged Moslem woman, Shalehah, and her husband Bangas-An as they try to find a surrogate mother, so that they can finally have a child.

Things That Will Break Your Heart

  • Shalehah’s devotion to her husband is both admirable and heartbreaking at the same time – she consents to finding a surrogate mother just to give her husband a chance to father a sire, even if she’s fully aware of the consequences and the risks it poses to their relationship.
  • Not necessarily due to the story, but many scenes in the film are heartbreaking purely because of actress Nora Aunor’s impressive portrayal of Shalehah, whose quiet stoicism is only a thin façade hiding a suffering woman.

#3 100

Synopsis

100 follows a woman who is dying of cancer as she tries to fulfill everything in her list of things that she has to do in her last three months of life.

Things That Will Break Your Heart

  • The regressing state of the protagonist’s health is heartbreaking, primarily because of how the movie presents the story. Even though you already know that she’s going to die, she is first presented as bubbly and positive, using her remaining days to do everything she wanted to do instead of moping. However, over time her body starts to fall apart and reality starts to sink in.
  • Actress Mylene Dizon does a good job of making you feel sorry for the character, by her impressive portrayal of a healthy, active person and the very noticeable effects of cancer in both a person’s body and her mind.

#2 Sa North Diversion Road

Synopsis

The movie focuses on a couple struggling with their relationship, and “what if scenarios” on their situation, all presented using a single setting: in a car driving along the North Diversion Road.

Things That Will Break Your Heart

  • The guy in the film is cheating on his wife, but he still loves her so throughout the film, he imagines different scenarios all revolving around their relationship and his infidelity. There are parts that are funny and ridiculous, but some of them start showing his insecurities and guilt.
  • The film ends on a somewhat positive note, but it still rends your heart to know that even if the guy has committed the biggest sin in a relationship, he still loves her enough to try to make things work out for the better.

#1 Transit

Synopsis

Transit focuses on the migrant worker Moises and his friend Janet, who decide to hide their children from Israel’s immigration police, after a government mandate to deport the children of immigrant workers.

Things That Will Break Your Heart

  • In one of the scenes, Janet and her daughter Yael are fighting because the former wants the latter to be less conspicuous in order to avoid attracting the attention of immigration police. However, Janet was defiant denied her heritage, proclaiming herself to be Israeli and Janet as the only one of Filipino descent. In Janet’s mind, this is tantamount to a daughter denying her own mother.
  • The film also addresses the identity crisis felt by children of immigrants who were born in the country – do they associate with their parents’ home country even though they have not seen it yet, or do they associate with the country that they have known all their lives even if it’s trying to deport them? Janet and Moises’ children have differing point of views presented in the film.

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