Review: 100 (4/5)

Written and directed by Chris Martinez, this film about a dying woman and the 100 things she wants to do before she dies is definitely not a rehash of “The Bucket List”. With minimal drama and heavy doses of laughs than any Dolphy and Vic Sotto movies, “100” is this year’s Cinemalaya darling nabbing the trophies for Best Actress (Mylene Dizon), Best Supporting Actress (Eugene Domingo), Best Director (Martinez), Best Screenplay (Martinez), and Audience Choice. Moreover, it bagged the Audience Award in the 13th Pusan International Film Festival (South Korea) and was chosen as one of the competing films for the 8th Marrakech Film Festival (Morocco).

Joyce (Dizon) is a single but successful career woman who finds out that she is terminally ill with cancer. She seeks help from reputable doctors, but their findings are unanimous – she won’t last long. So she decides to accept the fact that she’ll be gone in no time and takes note of the things she has to do before she dies, written individually on Post-It’s pasted on her wall.

Her to-do’s consist of simple tasks such as tidying up her condo unit, filing her resignation, cooking spree, donating clothes, eating unhealthy food like crispy pata and ice cream, French kissing a complete stranger, getting drunk again and again, etc. She even buys her own casket, prepares songs for her funeral, and picks clothes for her wake. She later on confides to Ruby (Domingo), her BFF. Teary-eyed and anxious at first, Ruby cannot hold her emotions, but Joyce asks her to just accept what’s imminent. Together, they paste more Post-It’s on Joyce’s walls bearing activities like Ate Vi movie marathon, getting high on MJ (MJ? Juts yun pareh!), Malate nigh-out, picture with Mickey Mouse, picture with Buddha, picture with Brad Pitt (funny how they got away with this one), and many many more. These are activities that Joyce has always wanted to do but keeps on postponing because she is too pre-occupied with work that she already forgot how to really live.

The comedic performances of Dizon and Domingo are impressive. It feels as if there is a laughter conductor on screen signaling the audience to laugh in unison. The humor is sharp but never slapstick, getting its inspiration on slice-of-life comedy and pop culture references.

Every movie about death will always have some drama. But “100” never swerves to Hysteria Lane. It is not because Martinez does not take death seriously. Perhaps he feels that there will always be joy (even just a smidgen of it) in every single moment of living, no matter how miserable or hopeless our situations may be. In Joyce’s “busy dying time”, she has to deal with death’s inevitable aspects, things she’d rather not do but have to, like closures, confrontations, and goodbye’s involving three important persons in her life. First, she has to deliver the bad news to her frenzied mom (Tessie Tomas). Second, she has to end her illicit affair with Rod (TJ Trinidad), an old flame who is now a married man. And lastly, she has to find the guts to face Emil (Ryan Eigenmann), the love of her life, who shares a not-so-pleasant past with her.

Unlike other critically-acclaimed independent films, the setting of “100” is not the slums or a rural barrio, it is a breath of fresh air to watch an indie film shot in up-market condominiums and high-rise buildings. With regards to the technical aspects, the film is at par with Star Cinema-produced films boasting of crystal clear cinematography (except for the scenes shot in Hong Kong) and decent production design among others.

Being light-hearted and extremely humorous, “100” won’t fail to entertain. It is about time that we laugh on something sensible. Forget about those puke-inducing Marian-Dingdong moneymakers, this is the real deal. “100” may seem like comedic take on dying but in essence, it is a mature approach on life that goes by the axiom “carpe diem (seize the day)”.


Straycat260 said...

Natawa ako, sobra sa puke-inducing Marian-Dingdong moneymakers mo.

Nice review tsong.

Fidel Antonio Medel said...

Thanks. Now, I'm ready to receive hate mails from the geniuses who think "One True Love" is a magnum opus.


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