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Review: Thy Womb

Dale's Review:

A lot of Filipinos say that we do not have good movies. Some, even go as far as proudly claim that they do not watch Filipino films because they are "baduy." I suspect that the people that say these things are the ones that proclaim anything marked as #1 in Hollywood Box-office as a must watch. If they happen to watch a local film, it would probably be anything with Anne Curtis or John Lloyd in it. That isn't saying that their movies are bad, but the local industry certainly has so much more to offer that just their films.

I saw Thy Womb last Thursday fully expecting to get bored. I even said that this is like a required film screening in college that people will have to review enthusiastically only to echo what foreign critics have been saying. But as the film played on to an almost empty cinema, we found ourselves deeply engrossed and taken by every detail presented in the beautifully photographed film.

Nora Aunor plays a Badjao midwife that is unable to have an offspring. Wanting to fulfill her husband's wish to have a child in their home, she seeks out a potential second wife for him, taking the task as normally as any daily chore. We do not hear her say anything about the awkwardness of the situation nor did she give any long winded monologue but we see more than a flood of emotion in her eyes.

Nora Aunor, who set the acting bar in Philippines cinema, did not fail to impress. Her brilliance only heightened by the implicit performance of Bembol Roco that is more worthy of an acting award than any rookie nominated in the same category.

Thy Womb isn't all about Aunor and her co-actors however. While the performances were quietly powerful, the film was a feat itself. It presents a reality so fascinating and so authentic, you can almost touch it. It depicts a way of life that is as colourful as it is chaotic, simple and unjust. It feeds you with an array of emotions and right before it ends, it lets you take it all in and experience an unbearable pain in a single serene shot.

Some people have said that Thy Womb is not in the same category as the other MMFF entries and should have been screened someplace more appropriate like an art festival or the Cinemalaya. I resent the idea that a quality film should have a limited audience. I think that we should always make room for quality and not be resigned to the belief that family time during the holidays should be spent watching trash. It is not too late to elevate the  taste of the viewing public. We only need to give them more opportunities to be exposed to movies like Thy Womb. This task is of course mainly that of the festival committee that needs to stop thinking only about revenues and start thinking of the industry that they are trying to uplift.

Rating: 4.75/5

Jae's Review:

I initially had to force myself to watch Thy Womb. Since international critics were hailing this as a great movie, I had the impression that this could be compared to Tree of Life or Lost in Translation - for being boring and too deep for my taste. I couldn't have been more wrong.

I'll just write how I feel about the movie since you can read a ton of reviews with more credibility than I will ever have.

To sum it up - I felt Nora's desperation. Her fears, frustration and love for her husband was palpable and very real. I felt like I was in there, a silent witness to everything that was happening. The movie is built on this and the foundation the director provided was so solid that when he cut it out at the very last scene, I felt everything all at once and in a tidal wave of emotions that I didn't know how to react.

This movie is also a great cultural immersion for the uninitiated, like me, on our Muslim brothers and sisters and how they go about their daily lives.

And the cinematography. Wow. If I was amazed with The Strangers' cinematography, I was blown away with Thy Womb. 

Both Nora Aunor and Angel Locsin are gunning for the Best Actress award - after seeing both of them, I can definitely say that Angel has a long way to go before she can beat Nora's acting skills in this movie.

Brilliante Ma Mendoza is one hell of a director and obviously a master of his craft. Thank you for making movies like these and not succumbing to commercialism. Thank you for stubbornly doing it your way.

So, should you watch it? If you don't like open ended stories, this movie is not for you. If you understand the indie genre and why passionate directors use every scene and every detail to tell a story, even if it sometimes take too long and the movie appears to be dragging, this movie is for you.

Rating: 4.5/5
Average Rating: 4.6/5

Dale Bacar
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  1. Anonymous12/30/2012

    A very very good review. All said are true. I support Thy Womb and it deserves to win the best picture in the MMFF. Sayang lang kasi we got a president who is too weak to go against the sister [i would want a president that is fair to all MMFF entries and who is supportive of the Badjao minorities].

  2. Anonymous12/30/2012

    Again, let me say that I have yet to see or read a Thy Womb review that doesn't praise Nora Aunor's performance. She really is the acting standard against whom other actresses are measured.

    Thanks for this wonderful review.

  3. true...more cinemas for quality films

  4. Anonymous12/30/2012

    thy womb is quality movie ..great actress no make up only eyes is move

  5. I am still in shock and awe of the power of Thy Womb almost a week after I first saw it. Thy Womb will go down in history as one of the best Filipino films of all time

  6. Anonymous12/31/2012

    the tidal wave of emotions Nora so powerfully depicted in the movie is already worth your time and money. Bravo !!!!!

  7. Anonymous12/31/2012

    Sana nagkaron ng intensive research tungkul sa mga badjao, wrong depict of the badjao, maramiing mali like they don't wear like that the sea gypsies, music parang hindi pinag-isipan, ang daming chants na sana pdeng gamitin, pati kung badjao palau yan they dont mix marriage, though I can say na may karapatan mag-imbento, or mayron lang siyang sariling perspective. Pero kung sasabihin na nagrepresent siya ng tribe sorry talaga hindi kasi pinatagalog si nora at nagtausug ang iba saan ang badjao duun, pinaasawa ba kamo sa tausug eh grabi ang discrimination nga jan. Ang gulu ng ginawa niya it was an attempt to do an indeginous film..artistically maganada mga shots, acting etc pero the rest sorry. From Zamboanga ako ako, live along side with the Badjaos and I can tell you the details of being a tausug coz I am. Daming details na namiss.

  8. Anonymous12/31/2012

    I am proud to have watched this film. Now I know why this woman, Nora Aunor, is called the finest actress Philippine Cinema has ever produced.

  9. Anonymous1/03/2013


  10. I agree with the suggestion of giving more tasteful and well-made movies for Filipino audience to provide venue to better understand our culture as a diverse community with intentions of bridging the gaps for unity, how we must look at life and how to manage and enjoy it, how we progress as a nation, how we must love our country, our own race, our own capabilities, our own strengths as (united) people, our weaknesses that holds our progress, etc. There are so much stories to tell and for Filipinos to learn.

    We praise the people like Director Mendoza, Ms Aunor, Mr Roco, and many more for giving us the opportunity to see life through their films.

    For me, I would rather tag this movie as tasteful, well-crafted, awakening film instead of just tagging it "quality" film, because it gives a direct impression about the film of what people will expect. As said, many Filipinos simply go for what is popular in Hollywood or famous artist skipping the chance to experience wonderfully-crafted films like Thy Womb.

    Salamat for making the film Thy Womb.