I was able to watch this movie on Christmas Day. Though I'm not usually a big MMFF fan, this movie caught my eye as a good quality serious film not to be missed as it is not of the usual run-of-the-mill mold typical of Filipino movies.
I was not disappointed. The movie tackles real current issues in a sensible and unsentimental way. The movie demonstrates the unrelenting love and sacrifice of a parent and the strength of familial ties. The movie also touches on religious fanaticism justifying forced tithing, unreal investment returns disguising greed and scams, and the unrestrained cruelty and blatant selfishness that exists in our society.
As I assume many who are reading this may not have seen the movie, I will avoid discussing the plot in detail so as not to be a spoiler. Suffice to say the movie shows how a desperate husband and father will stop at nothing to save his family. The actors in the movie, especially the leads John Lloyd Cruz and Meryll Soriano, are effective without exaggerating. So are the performances of Krystal Brimner, Perla Bautista, Dan Fernandez, and Tirso Cruz III. The conversations in the movie lead you quickly into the heart of its story, and then slowly die down toward its concluding scenes of destruction. And the use of Kankana-ey dialect by the protagonist and his family (who are portrayed to hail from Bontoc) I especially took note of. It projects the closeness of the community and of the family to each other and it displays their oneness with the values inherent in their culture. This, I believe, is central to the story of Honor Thy Father. When pressed into drastic and hopeless situations, we do go back to our roots.
Although some scenes do drag on at times, I am still proud we have a Filipino-made film that is not empty, not petty, not predictable, and not about far-fetched ideas. It's sad that it seemed like the least-lined-up-for movie that day. It deserves more than that. It is thought-provoking and stirs the soul. Go watch and see for yourselves.