April 5, 2009

Santa Santita Review

Malen is the last person you'd expect to be a saint. She's 'malandi', stubborn and just downright bitchy. Not only that, she's also disrespectful to her mom Chayong- a 'prayer woman' in Quiapo who basically prays for other people as a devotion and a living. Mike on the other hand, is a callboy whose looks defy his shady deeds and sure enough, Malen falls for him.

But after a tragedy, Malen is forced to become a prayer woman as well, even if only for the money and donations, so she can pay the rent. But the unthinkable happens as the prayers of the people who go to Malen get miraculously answered. Is it truly God choosing her to be a saint, or is she just a Santa Santita?

First off, I have to note that this is simply one of the most unique films I've watched this year so far, and that says a lot especially in Filipino cinema. Yes, it touches the topic of religion and faith, but it doesn't feel as if there's a condescending tone to it, as if it has to actually present a case wherein priests are taken in by greed or corruption and stuff like that.

Honestly, I can't really find the right words to describe the unfolding of the plot without giving anything away. What I can say though is that the acting is great, the cinematography is beautiful, and that it's a pretty compelling watch. One particularly powerful moment involves Jericho Rosales' character holding up and requesting for life restoration. The why you'll have to find out.

The ending's a bit unsatisfactory, although I wouldn't really know how to change it either.

Just a note when you get the DVD: it gives nearly everything away. I recommend it.

Rating: 8.5/10

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