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Review: The Mistress

Jae's Review:

I went into the cinemas expecting to see a romantic story where true and unflailing love knows no bounds, where love triumphs against all challenges and so pure and true it can rival that of the saints and angels from heaven. This tried and tested (and done a million times over) formula would have been the death of this movie. Luckily, I was wrong.

I'll keep this short, as Dale is the one known for mile-long posts. ;)

The Mistress is marketed as a four sided love story. I would have been happier calling it a four sided tale of love and hurt, but I guess negativism in advertising is not a sellable thing. But that's what this movie is all about. This movie is about how anyone can get thrown into circumstances that they can't avoid, makes decisions that seem right at the time and how those same choices ripple to hurt other people. Its about sacrifices, of owning up to your mistakes, of getting hurt (again and again) and ultimately, of how we can't always get what we want.

Having a cast that knows how to act their parts also helped greatly into putting this as one of my favorite movies this year. A thumbs up to Hilda Koronel for handling her character with class and without an inch of telenovela acting. Anita Linda tugs at your heart everytime she is on screen and K Brosas provides an effective comic relief just long enough for us to catch our breath and get back to the seriousness of the film.

Surprisingly, the best scene for me, however, wasn't from the Bea-John Lloyd tandem nor from any of the main cast. It was that of Anita Linda and how she told her granddaughter that everything will be alright, but she still has to stand in the corner. I'm not going to expound on this as you'll only understand when you see the film. ;)

And a big thank you to the director/writer for not jumping into the cliche/stereotype bandwagon and omitting the following from the movie:

1. Cheesy feel good love antics - grand gestures where the suitor goes to lengths to win the heart of the target.
2. Campy (taray) lines - these are great in campy movies (or your drinking sessions with friends) but seriously, do people say these lines in real life situations?
3. Commercialized ending - where death of the antagonist (or a main plot character) or a sudden change of heart makes everything all right in the end giving a contrived ending. This is just plain laziness (or stupidity) on the part of the writer/director.

Finally, I just have one major gripe - editing. There were scenes where the actors are still in the middle of their lines and it suddenly cuts to a different scene. It's annoying and distracting.

It's a movie about real people, real situations and real reactions. Not all of us may be able to relate to the story or the characters, but I'm sure all of us have made mistakes and wrong decisions in the past and that's where viewers will be able to relate to. Some scenes, however, were dragging and (I felt) unneeded. The editing needs more work as well because the cuts are done improperly and is distracting to the audience.

Rating: 4/5

Dale's Review:

Every few years, director Olivia Lamasan creates a memorable film that by default becomes Star Cinema's most important movie for that year. With an impressive resume that includes Madrasta, Minsan, Minahal Kita and Sana Maulit Muli, quality has become synonymous with the Lamasan name. This latest offering of the formidable tandem of Lamasan and Star Cinema, however, does not quite make it to the cut but it's almost there. While Star Cinema's movies of the late 90's and early 2000 have been committed to quality, it's just sad to see that what I can only assume as an important project such as this can be released with faulty editing, a glaring continuity error and bad music.

Putting those elements aside, The Mistress is quite beautiful and very memorable. The movie is aptly summed up by Anita Linda when she told Bea to stand in the corner, as teachers would have students that had committed an infraction do, because she needs to live by the consequences of her decisions. This is the theme that governed all of the characters in the movie - from the cheating husband, the wife who is paying for a past mistake, John Lloyd for the circumstances of his birth, and Bea for clinging on her only hope at a time of need and falling in love.

Breaking away from Star Cinema's penchant for finding an easy way out to resolve conflicts, The Mistress shows us a painful reality - that when things don't go as you want them to, sometimes all that is left for you to do is close your eyes and dream. This just won me over.

Rating: 3.5/5
Average Rating: 3.75

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  1. my two cents

    1. i agree with the above mentioned. totally. (spoiler) however i find the love scene (bea-john)a total glitch. it was very unnecessary. the movie did not need that. my 180 pesos and 90 minutes last night were well spent.

    the film culture here in the philippines, well, it's definitely struggling, but if big budgeted movies are going to be made this way every time, i.e. the quality is beyond what we would normally expect (you know what i mean), then i'm willing to spend my time and money for it.

  2. Anonymous9/14/2012

    Your review is palpable and subtly accepted. In my case, im one those movie goers who just want a feel good but not cheesy movie. And watching a movie is a like a break from reality. I was really hoping for a happy ending. But then it is true that it could have been the death of the movie. However, it deserves a sequel. I'm not a masochist. I want to go out from the movie theater feeling good.

  3. Anonymous9/14/2012

    I like Dale's review

  4. @James: For me, given that they have been aching to do it from the start, the sex part was okay. But I agree with you that they should keep making quality films, regardless if it is meant for commercial or indie release.

    @Comment #2: I totally understand and respect where you're coming from. Some people do watch to escape and that is totally fine.

    @Comment #3: Thank you. The reason for the dual review is because we also don't agree on how we see a film most of the time and we would like to offer different perspectives. It just happened that we both liked The Mistress, so there :)

  5. Anonymous9/15/2012

    I'm thinking of watching this today... is it not as good as one more chance? I'm having doubts now...

  6. It's not really that comparable because this is a more mature story. Give it a chance, you might love it :)

  7. Anonymous9/16/2012

    Both of the reviews are good. :) It's my first time to come across this blogsite and I will surely come back for more reviews. :)

    Anyway, I do agree that the editing was terrible. It actually looked haphazard. At first, I found the pacing a bit draggy. Perhaps due to being accustomed to previous movies done with a swift pacing with surprises here and there. But towards the middle, going to the end, I realized that the pace is just balanced. It is just a simple story--guy falls in love with his "father's" mistress, a tragedy occurs, then everyone has to suffer the consequences of their actions--but the details (hence, the slow pace) helped the audience understand the character more than the plot itself.

    Just to share, the most memorable scene for me was when JD called Sari a "mistress" which he explained later, "a wardrobe mistress," her job. It's just like hitting two birds with one stone. :)

    I do agree that for a mainstream production, this is a good movie to watch. :)

  8. Anonymous9/17/2012

    It's a much watch! The only scene I didn't like was when Ronaldo Valdez had a heart attack. Too predictable. The movie showed how male ego works and at what great lengths they would go to claim their woman. Note when Rico Torres suddenly became jealous when he realized that Sari had a suitor for real. Rico and Sari scenes illicited some 'eeeew' reactions from the audience but I thought Bea is such a professional actress. John Lloyd of course does not dissappoint. He is such a great actor. Hilda Koronel was flawless, she should have more movies. You can say that Rico and Regina's relationship is 'complicated'.

  9. Anonymous9/18/2012

    I totally agree with you Jae that the best scene was that of Anita Linda's where she held the hands of Bea and telling her that the latter should just stand in one corner and accept her punishment. This actually sums up the theme of the movie-- that we must accept the consequences of our actions or the choices we make. And like Dale, I was also won over by the reality that the movie has presented us -- that when we can't have what we want, all that is left is for us to close our eyes and dream.

  10. I myself watched this movie and for me it's a hit and napapanahon sa atin ngayon.