Rosario was the movie my mom and I decided to watch last Christmas. The lines were long for all the entries in this year’s Metro Manila Filmfest Festival and I’m just glad we were able to buy tickets.
I had to wait for the awards night before I could share with you my review of the film. I wanted to know if they won so that I could share with you my opinion and whether or not I believe they deserved it.
The movie tells the true story of Manuel Pangilinan’s grandmother, Rosario Herrera. Rosario’s son, Jesus Herrera-Fernandez, who at 82, narrates his mother’s life in the film. The movie ‘Rosario’ is basically a flashback of Rosario’s life when she was 18 years old till she was 32 years old. A true story of a lady in the 1920s.
Rosario had come to the Philippines straight from New York just for a vacation at their hacienda. Her sheltered and quite prestigious life would soon take a turn when she, at just 18 years old, fell in love with the administrator of their tobacco company, Vicente Perez (35 years old). Rosario’s parents were furious when they found out and Rosario would then be sent to a convent.
However, Rosario would follow her heart and defy her parents’ wishes as she eloped with Vicente and lived their lives in Manila where they had 2 children. Rosario never went back to her parents and they both died without their daughter on their side..
Her life changed again drastically when Vicente got sick of tuberculosis. As Vicente was sick, the toll on their marriage would soon manifest itself as Rosario would commit adultery with her best friend’s boyfriend. To make matters worse, she got pregnant. She was caught in the act by her husband, Vicente, who never forgave her for what she had done. Back then, as it is now, adultery was shunned and forbidden as a culture. But even worse, the penalty was harsh as Rosario was sent to Hongkong in exile as she was proven guilty of adultery.
She was abandoned by the guy eventually as he could not support Rosario and her son, Jesus (who was young at that time). Rosario met another man but she decided not to go with him in the end.
Doing a period type of movie is a massive undertaking usually. Depending on the era and the time where the movie takes place, the sets, the costumes, and even the props have to be true to the time. I was honestly in awe as the movie kept going along, just seeing the people in the 1920s era gave me a totally different movie experience than usual. I have to admit that it really opened my eyes and fascination for this period, just imagining myself in such an era, really thinking to myself that this is how people lived and looked like back then.
I believe the acting was pretty excellent too among all the cast in the movie. This is a true story and you can’t really change the story just to make it award worthy or exciting. The lesson I got from watching the movie is.. karma’s really a bitch. With Rosario being unfaithful, she wasn’t able to be with her children, never got forgiveness from the people she loved and lived her life with hardships and sacrifices. Until the very end, I believe she would be haunted by her past mistakes and decisions.
Regarding MMFF awards, I was shocked that both the director and lead actress didn’t even get a nomination. I believe they both deserve at least a nomination. For a movie who being rated A and even winning 2nd best picture and cultural award, I just couldn’t believe that they didn’t even acknowledge the director and lead actress. It was contradicting, I must say.
I’m not sure if everyone would love this movie since it strays away from the usual path that many Filipino films have become in this modern era. This story chases the actual story, it envelopes the viewer in the romance that was the Philippines of the 1920s, and brings back to life the true story of a liberated woman of that time. Rosario’s life was colorful, it showed a lot of her weaknesses and faults. And also, which I think was important, the actors were splendid in the movie, and let the story of the characters speak for themselves. They didn’t overact even if they are good actors. It made the movie realistic and I guess, closer to reality.
There are a lot of firsts in this movie, 1st directorial job of actor Albert Martinez, 1st title role for Jennylyn Mercado, 1st movie of TV5 and 1st to use the Arri Alexa camera in the film. If I may add, 1st truly deserving movie that did not receive best director and best actress nominations for a MMFF movie.
My Rating for Rosario: 3.5 out of 5 stars