FILM REVIEW: IPAGPATAWAD MO


The Plot: 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 (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “…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…” – Butch Francisco (READ MORE)

“What?s the critics said: Payak, makabuluhan ngunit kakaibang pelikula ang ?Ipagpatawad Mo? ng Viva Films. Sapat ngang ipakipaglaban ng Vilma Santos at Christopher de Leon tandem ang paghahanap ng ibang klaseng script na lalo pang mapatingkad sa status nila bilang mga aktor sa makatuturang kahulugan nito. Mapalad sila sa panulat ni Olivia lamasan ng isang story na tumatalakay sa reaksiyon ng isang pamilya sa pagkakaroon ng abnormal na anak. Hinugot ni Ms. Lamasan ang autism syndrome na first time na inilantad sa Pilipino screen, bagamat tinangka na rin itong ipaliwanag sa ?Rain Man? ni Dustin Hoffman sa Hollywood. Sa story, sina Vilma at Christopher ay intelihente (TV broadcaster at lawyer respectively) at matagumpay na indibidwal. Maykaya sila sa buhay ngunit nagkaanak ng autistic. (Ang autism, ayon sa mga modren psychologists na sina Bernard Rimiand at lauretta bender, ay isang uri ng infantile psychosis na kung saan ang sinasapian ay nagwi-withdraw sa reyalidad ng buhay. Nananatili sila sa sariling daigdig na nilikha ng isip at pantasya.) dahil sa autistic child (Edward Carlos Garcia) unti-unting nawasak ang pamilya nina Vilma. Vilma vowed to protect and care for the child because she felt this is the only way a mother can assure herself that everything can be given to the son. (Pinatunayan nga ng pelikula na mas apt ang title na Paano Ba Ang Maging Ina rito kaysa roon sa ginawa ni Nora Aunor). On the other hand, nire-reject ni Chris at ng kanyang family (Delia Razon, et al) ang bata dahil nakababawas ito sa dignidad ng family stature nila. The conflict progresses to give us the different views on how to accept the frailties of people within our family. Para bang kung paano tatanggapin ng magulang na may anak siyang may butas sa puso or worst bakla. The father and mother image were deliberately explored at sa tuwing mag-aaaway sina Vi at Boyet, parang nakikita natin ang ating mga magulang na nagtatalo. the scenes were too real for comfort.

Nadale ng Viva ang kiliti ng masa. Hindi mo nga kailangang bigyan ng heavy stuff ang tao para masabing matino ang pelikula. Tama na nga sa mga politicized films or pa-social relevance. Bugbog na bugbog na ang ganitong tema sa mga diyaryo at sensayunalismo ng TV Patrol ng Channe 2. Mas kinagugusto ng balana ang mga pelikulang nakasentro sa mga karaniwang problema ng tao, lalo na?t may kinalalaman sa ordinaryong relasyong pantao. Napapanahon ang story ng ?Ipagpatawad?. Simple. Natural na pinakilos ng mga tauhan ng dula na halos parang hindi mo namamalayang pelikula lang pala ito. Aakalain mo ngang nakikinood ka lang sa isang scenario sa buhay ng kapitbahay mo. Ganito katindi ang tama ng pelikula sa manonood. This is indeed a very special movie for Boyet and Vi. Santos is again in the running for Best Actress. She was able to sink her teeth to the role of a disturbed mother torn in the love and responsibilities for her husband and the abnormal child. Except for some restless gesticulation of the hands, damang-dama mong buong katawan niya ay nilukuban ng kaakuhan ng role. All her scenes can be considered highlights, because she was consistently good in them. Her duro scene with Boyet was satisfactorily blocked and orchestrated. So far here, Vilma has an edge over Ruffa Gutierrez, Mona Liza, Janice de Belen and Lorna Tolentino in the acting derby next year. De leon was able to regain his acting brilliance in this movie. hindi puwersado. Cool, less facial contortion which became evident in some recent films he made. I like him better here than in ?Salingin? and ?Makiusap sa Diyos?. Nakababagbag-damdamin ?yung paghingi niya ng tawad sa anak. The monologue, which started sa pasakalye to reconcile ended in pained catharsis, that even a man with a heart of stone whould melt in depression. As a team, gamay na gamay na nina Vi at Boyet ang isa?t isa. Actually. sa tender moments nila, you don?t see them as the stars. You are made to believe they were really husbadn and wife.They were too relaxed. Their movements were free and natural. This is really what we call team acting. Walang sapawan.

The movie added more luster with the convincing portrayal of the kids. (Edward Garcia, Bennet Ignacio at Terence Baylon) who played Vi?s children. Special mention dito si Garcia na gumanap na 3-year old Junjun. Ang nuances niya ng ritualistic hand movements and echolalic sppech (symptom ng autism) ay talagang believable. He is not even conscious of the camera. Not to be outdone ay ang great support nina Charito Solis, as the choleric mother of Vi: Joonee gamboa, as the phlegmatic father; Ruby Rodriguez, as the yaya na talagang agaw-eksena, lalo na sa carnival scene; Bing Loyzaga, na mas improved and better version ni Gretchen Barretto sa movie; at Vivian Foz, as the wronged confused sister of Vi. Exceptional din ang cinematography and lighting works ng movie. As usual, expected sa Viva melodrama ang glossy, fabulous setting na nag-capitalized sa affluent house interior. kaya lang, parang di tugma ang theme song ni Janno Gibbs sa story. But more than this, laudable ang script ni Ms. Lamasan. Veritable na may research work ang writer. Dahil na-inform niya nag madla tungkol sa autism na dominant sa mga batang lalaki ngayon. Naipabatid niya na autism is detectable at the first two years, when the child is suffering from hearing and speech impairment In-insinuate din niya na the birth delivery (as specified in the opening scene) can cause oxygen deprivation that may affect the brain development of the child, thus creating immaturity in vasomotor coordination such as hearing, speech and hand movement. nilinaw rin niya na ang emotional refrigeration (yaong rejection nina Chris, Delia at Vivian) can cause the intensification of the disease. However, na-establish din niya ang love and care ng parents (ni Vilma) at sibling (ng kapatid na normal) will be more than enough to push the child to develop little by little. This time Laurice Guillen has hit the pot. The movie turned out to be artistically made and yet the commercial value of it did not suffer. Bumalik na ang aesthetic eye ni Direktora Guillen. Thank God, a film like this comes once in a while to give us enter-educational (learning with pleasure) millieu.” – Ces Ysobel Orsal (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)

“So much has been said and written about Enter-Educate (Entertainment for Education) but does anyone really know what it all means? As their ad says people in the entertainment industry who ascribe to Enter Education use their appeal to inculcate positive values. Quickly applying this in the movies, It’s the difference between Ipagpatawad MO (Viva Films) and Disgrasyada (Regal Films) both showing at your favorite theaters. Ipagpatawad Mo is a movie about how a family copes with autisitc children. Value: The Family. I haven’t seen Disgrasyada, but given Regal’s track record for gadawful movies, this movie will probably have Ruffa Gutierrez rompling around (wet, most likely) in Mother Lily’s famous kamison. Value: Magic Kamison. I am not saying that Viva makes better movies than Regal. Viva is the same company which brought you Humanap ka ng Panget and Andrew Ford Medina. But it is making an effort to entertain and educate. Which is more than I could say for other movie companies. Ipagpatawad Mo (Direction: Laurice Guillen) is like a training film for parents of autistic children, with lots of drama and fine acting from two name stars. Before anything else, this is the first time I’ve seen a cellular phone (not cordless) in a Filipino movie. (Puh-leeze, I can’t stand people who use cellular phones in their cars, in restaurants, in movie houses, even in church. I hereby propose cellular phone-free zones). This is observation has nothing to do with the rest of this review. In the movie, Vilma Santos plays a successful TV journalist (Must everyone play Loren Legarda in the movies?) while Christopher is a successful lawyer. Everything is perfect until their son Junjun turns three (Are the two children who played Junjun, age 3 and age 8, autistic in real life, or are they actors?) They find out from Lorli Villanueva, who plays a psychiatrist, not a laudrywoman that their son is autistic. Christopher wants to put Junjun in an institution (ala-Rainman).

Instead Vilma takes Junjun to her parent’s house. She gives up her job, stops playing attentive wife to Christopher, and dutifully takes Junjun to a special school. Christopher complaints that Vilma doesn’t pay enough attention to him anymore. Vilma complains that Christopher has forsaken his duties as a father. They breakup, almost. But they reconcile because Vilma is pregnant. She has given birth to Paolo, a normal child. Understandably, Christopher is proud of Paolo and ashamed of Junjun. He doesn’t want his friends to know he has a “defective” son. One day, Junjun humiliates his father in a party. Christopher scolds him, but Junjun doesn’t understand. Instead, he starts to draw his father with a tail and horns. Christopher has an affair with Bing Loyzaga, who tries very hard to do a Nanette Medved, but ends up looking like Gloria Estefan in that Pepsi commercial. Vilma discovers the affair and moves out of the house. Christopher doesn’t want to lose his family so he breaks up with Bing. He begs Vilma to come back and promises to make an effort to accept Junjun. They take a vacation and finally Christopher comes to terms with his feeling for his autistic son. In a touching scene, Christopher and Junjun sit together, but apart in the living room. He tells his son how excited he was when he was born. How he had such great hopes for him. How dissapointed he was when he found out he was autistic. And that he really doesn’t know what to do with him. But he loves him very much. Christopher cries, Vilma, who has eavesdropped, cries too. Junjun who has been toying with a ball, stands up and leaves the room. I guess this sums up the whole situation of what it’s like to be a parent of an autistic child.

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)

“Countless subjects have been written about this star for all seasons – a fascinating character to her fans. Her calm composure even in the midst of brickbats thrown her way by some members of the press, her acting talents attested by the 16 best actress trophies and her screen image are reasons enough why she has gained a strong foothold in the hearts of the moviegoers. “Being popular in one’s profession or let’s say being successful, is not a shield against the wounds of life. On the contrary, principles come more often and go deeper if one is successful and popular,” she told us when we chanced to talk toher on the set of her latest movie, Ipagpatawad Mo with Christopher de Leon. Moviegoers have always accepted the team-up of Vi and Boyet, acting and box office wise. This is their 16th partnership. Their first was in Tagulan sa Tagaraw.

So what else is new? “There was a time na parang sawa na kami sa subject ng movie namin. Relasyon, Pakawalan Mo Ako, Imortal, Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali, Masarap Masakit ang Umibig, etc. are just some of them. So when we read the script, we said na sana bago naman ang story, not just a love triangle, or legal separation and such subjects. This is the first time in out picture togethertaht involved our child who is autistic. Not many people or only a few of our parents know what an autistic child is. Akala nila mentally retarded na ang mga yon. Which is definitely not true. Autistic children can be taught, can be improved but it takes a lot of patience and determination to make them so. In this movie, Boyet could not believe that he has such a child and he rejects him. But I could not, and that is the bane of our everyday quarrel. I fiercely defend out son here saying to all and sundry that he is not mentally retarded. How did you tackle the subject of autism? “Boyet and I read books about it, saw a movie with its theme, visited a special school for such children in Forbes Park, and spoke to parents of these children.

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.” How is it that you and Boyet are so compatible with each other as a love team? To our knowledge, no other team-up has endured such long partnership. “Maybe it’s because we’re comfortable with each other. And one thing more, the moviegoers accepted our team because there’s no personal involvement between us. It’s not necessary that there’s love angle between us. Ang sa amin platonic lang. Not only that, we’re the best of friends. Do you know that Boyet was the first leading man to whom I confided that I’m going to marry Edu? He was also the first to whom I broke the news that I’m pregnant with Lucky. That’s how firm our friendship is.”

In all the years that you’ve been together in the movies, did Boyet ever court you? I heard before that wen you we’re filming a movie with Eddie Rodriguez, he sent you three red roses. “Naku ha! That’s just his way of affirming our friendship. Walang malisya youn.” If in real life, you’re really husband and wife, do you think your marriage will also endure up to the present? ” I just can’t tell, ha. But Boyet and I are both Scorpions. We have the same strong personalities. Siguro magka-clash kami. But in our scenes in the movies, It’s wonderful if Boyet is my partner, because kung intense at high ang feelings ko, kaya ni Boyet na saugtin kung ano ang sinasabi ko with the same intense feeling.” And with the others? “No comment.” In Ipagpatawad Mo, Vi portrays a mother’s love for her child. “I know the feeling because I am a mother. I’ll fight tooth and nail for the care and well-fare of my son, Lucky.” Vi is going full ahead of her movie schedules next year. After this movie, she’ll be shooting Sinungaling na Puso (temporary title), for Regal’s tehn one with Armida’s Reyna Films (The Heiress), and another one schedule for Vision Films.” – Nena Z. Villanueva, Manila Standard, Oct 28 1991 (READ MORE)

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