Filmography: Ipagpatawad Mo (1991)

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Basic Information: Directed: Laurice Guillen; Story: Olivia M. Lamasan; Screenplay: Olivia M. Lamasan; Cast: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Charito Solis, Bing Loyzaga, Amy Perez, Delia Razon, Ruby Rodriguez, Joonee Gamboa, Johnny Wilson, Vivian Foz, Jinky Oda, Terence Baylon, Bennette Ignacio, Eddie Albert Ramos, Lorli Villanueva; Executive producer: Vic del Rosario Jr.; Cinematography: Eduardo Jacinto; Film Editing: Efren Jarlego; Production Design: Edgar Martin Littaua; Sound: Gaudencio Barredo

Plot Description: A married couple who try to make their marriage work despite the fact that both of them are career-oriented and that there are tensions created by the prescence of their first-born child, Mike Jr., who turns out to be autistic. – RV

Atty. Mike Esquivel (Christopher De Leon) is a very successful lawyer who feels he has everything and the world is at his feet for the asking. He doesn’t know failure and how to deal with it. Mike is married to Celina (Vilma Santos), an equally successful T.V. personality. When Celina gives birth to their firstborn, Mike becomes ecstatic for he is now complete. But as their son grows, the doctor finds he is autistic. Mike is indignant. He cannot accept a feeble minded son as he worries about his reputation like his parents who suggest an institution. The situation is breaking up their ideal marriage for only Celina can understand and love her autistic son unconditionally. – TFC Now (READ MORE)

Film Achievemetns: 1991 FAMAS: Best Actor – Christopher De Leon; Best Child Actor – Terence Baylon; Best Director Nomination – Laurice Guillen; Best Picture; 1991 FAP: Best Actor – Christopher De Leon; Best Child Actor – Terence Baylon; Best Editing – Efren Jarlego; Best Picture; Best Actress Nomination – Vilma Santos; 1991 Gawad Urian: Best Actress – Vilma Santos; Best Picture; Best Screenplay – Olivia M. Lamasan; Best Actor Nomination – Christopher De Leon; Best Cinematography Nomination – Eduardo Jacinto; Best Direction Nomination – Laurice Guillen; Best Editing Nomination – Efren Jarlego; Best Production Design Nomination – Edgar Martin Littaua; Best Supporting Actor Nomination – Terence Baylon

Film Reviews: Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos, the box-office love team of more than a dozen dramas, including “Pakawalan Mo Ako,” “Paano Ba ang Mangarap,” “Relasyon,” “Broken Marriage” and “Imortal” are reunited in this Laurice Guillen drama written by Olive M. Lamasan. They portray a married couple who try to make their marriage work despite the fact that both of them are career-oriented and that there are tensions created by the pres¬ence of their first-born child, Mike Jr., who turns out to he autistic.

At first, their marriage is close to being one made in heaven. Mike Esquivel (Christopher) is a successful lawyer, while Celina (Vilma) is a popular talkshow hostess. Celina gives up her career to devote fall time as mother to Junjun, the autistic child, played well by both Bennett Ignacio (when Junjun is three years old) and Terence Baylon (when the boy is seven years old). The husband, however, is totally unsympathetic and even considers the child a disgrace. With the wife spending practically all her waking hours to attend to her “special” child, the marriage expectedly begins to crumble. They only give themselves a second chance when Celina finds out that she is again pregnant. The second child – to father Mike’s relief – turns out to be a normal, healthy boy. But with Mike still unable to accept the first child, the marriage is on the rocks once more.

The situation worsens when Mike -driven by the abnormal conditions at home and his own self-centeredness – starts an extramarital affair with a balikbayan named Monique (Bing Loyzaga). Finally, a near tragic incident gives Mike another chance to prove himself a worthy husband to Celina and even worthier father to his kids, especially the autistic one. The movie is poignant, nevermushy. It isnotthe run-of-the-mill tearjerker that relies on maudlin theatrics and melodramatic devices to touch the hearts of moviegoers. Surprisingly, despite the frustrating problem facing the movie couple, moviegoers did not seem to be depressed by the movie.

Attempts to “commercialize” the film may be seen in the comic relief provided by the protracted spats between the two kids’ yayas (Ruby Rodriguez and Jinky Oda). But the heavy subject and the conditions in the local film industry allow us to accept the filmmakers’ decision to inject such crowd-pleasing elements. Though the late Lino Brocka has made a posthumous telemovie on the same subject autism — with a similar dramatic situation in the still-unreleased “Lampang Kerubin,” this is the first time in recent memory that a Filipino movie tackles the subject with seriousness and compassion. Beyond the subject of having an autistic child, the movie also deals with the intri¬cacies of family relationships, as indicated by the ties between Celina and her mother (Charito Solis) and a wayward sister (Vivian Foz), and between these folks and Mike’s parents (Delia Razon and Johnny Wilson). “Ipagpatawad Mo” is a major film event of the year, with quiet and restrained per-formances by the cast that erupts in emo¬tional outbursts only periodically and judiciously. – Butch Francisco, The Philippine Star (READ MORE)

“…The 1990s saw Charito Solis graduate to mother and grandmother roles, which she had done with frequency in the 1980s. In another nod to her age, she finally allowed herself to be billed above Vilma Santos, then acknowledged as the Longest-Reigning Box Office Queen of Philippine Movies, albeit above-the-title in films such as Ipagpatawad Mo (1992) and Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993)…” – Gypsy Baldovino and Yolly Tiangco (READ MORE)

“…Christopher redeems himself from his bad performance in the movie Huwag Mong Salingin ang Sugat ko, shown last week. He is in top form here, and portrays a gamut of emotions, as a father who could not accept that his son is autistic; as comfused husband who turns to another woman for comfort; as a desperate man who implores his wife to give him another chance; and as a transformed father who finally accepts his son is autistic. Vilma is exceptional, as usual. The two stars look good together. (I cannot imagine Christopher and Nora Aunor together). Although, they looke visibly – dare I say it? – old. Not even the soft-focus lens could disguise the bags under their eyes and the lines on their cheeks. Good thing Ipagpatawad Mo is a movie which deals with a more sophisticated subject, other than a man who meets a woman and they fall in love, or a married man falls-in-love with another woman and vice versa. In the future, I would like to see less cellular phones and more mature movies like this, please.” – Elvira Mata, Manila Standard, Oct 23 1991 (READ MORE)

“…Ninety percent of these autistic children are very good-looking and are good in numbers but they have a world of their own. If you teach them something, yon kung ang alam nila, no other world exists. Autism is like virus and it is not hereditary. Hindi malalaman na autistic ang isang bata until they are about three or four years old. But doctors know, when a baby is born that he or she is autistic, only they don’t dare tell the parents about it. This movie should be an eye opener for such doctors and parents.” – Nena Z. Villanueva, Manila Standard, Oct 28 1991 (READ MORE)

“…The wife was a popular talk show host. The husband was a top executive in the field of advertising. They were the ideal couple and the envy of all their friends. They seemed to lead the perfect life more so when the birth of their baby boy completed the picture of a domestic paradise. But time brought a realization that their son was not like the other normal children. He was diagnosed as autistic. The wife gave up her career to give her son every possible chance to lead a normal life but the husband could not accept his child. He thought that it was a massive blow on his masculinity. How they came to terms with the presence of this autistic child in their lives is the gist of this wonderfully crafted film…” – Mav Shack (READ MORE)

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