MMFF 2015 Movie Review: Honor Thy Father starring John Lloyd Cruz


Honor Thy Father is the most controversial entry featured at the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival. I remember being upset when I found out this John Lloyd Cruz starer and the historical women empowerment movie Lakambini led by Lovi Poe didn’t make it to the final cut announced last June.

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MMFF Awards bagged by ‘Honor Thy Father’ team

Hermano Puli backed out last October due to the lack of budget and by the time Honor Thy Father was offered a slot, the film was already screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and slated to be the opening film of CinemaOne Originals 2015. I read some press releases about that and clearly, the people behind MMFF 2015 are fully aware of the arrangements. The sudden disqualification of Honor Thy Father for the Best Picture award a day before the awards night remains a mystery.

Anyway, I’m not writing this post to update everyone with this ongoing issue (can’t keep my mouth shut) as I’m a Pinoy movie fan. I cannot say this is my personal favorite among the 8 entries, but it does deserve a recognition. This is also a ‘test’ on whether Pinoy moviegoers are open to supporting such theme.

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John Lloyd Cruz and Meryll Soriano

Honor Thy Father (formerly Con-Man) is John Lloyd Cruz’ first Metro Manila Film Festival Entry and also is first indie film as lead actor (he did a cameo in Still Life). As a fan of JLC, I am happy that finally he was given a material where he can showcase is intensity not just as an onscreen lover boy, but as a regular Pinoy trying his very best for his family.

Edgar (or Egay) is just a simple family man who is living a quiet life with his wife Kaye (played by Meryll Soriano) and daughter Angel (Krystal Brimner) in Baguio City. Just like in typical Ilocano household (I should know lol), the wife is more in control in terms of finances and even in some aspects of family life. Kaye is involved in an investment scheme with her dad who is based in Pampanga. People trusted her with their hard-earned cash hoping they’ll get more money in return. One day, the father’s body is found lifeless and that’s where the struggle for survival starts.

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Tirso Cruz III as Bishop Tony

The movie is very realistic especially on the worship part. Although they featured a fictional religion (Church of Yeshua), the way some people stick too much in their faith thinking they’ll be ‘saved’ from any wrongdoings is what’s usually happening these days. The way Tirso Cruz III portrayed the character of the Bishop is too realistic that I myself felt as if I’m one of the devotees attending a live ceremony. I’m not an atheist, but I’m hoping more ‘religious’ people get to see this film especially the vulnerable ones so they can reevaluate how far they’re willing to go in the name of their parish/church (or Yeshua).

In terms of acting, all the actors in the movie delivered well. John Lloyd Cruz sheds his romantic leading man image in this movie and showed so much depth without overacting (as some actors doing offbeat characters tend to do). Same with Meryll Soriano, who I wanted to slap in some of the scenes. I hate her ways and her selfish motives in the movie. I don’t think any other actress can give justice to that role if i’m being honest.

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Tirso Cruz III deserves his Best Supporting Actor Award as he gave us chills during the ceremony and how he ‘prays over’ his followers but won’t help them in life and death situations. He is eager to get donations, but he won’t even help those who initially helped his organization. Best Child Performer awardee Krystal Brimner will be the next young actress to watch. Cutting a little girl’s hair for a role (kalbo at that) is such a brave thing to do. I saw her interview after receiving the award and woah, that kid is smart and ambitious. Go girl!

Even the other supporting characters like William Martinez as one of the pastors reminded me of someone who tried to convince my friends when I was younger to join their religion. I’m not sure if Dan Fernandez, Boom Labrusca and Khalil Ramos are ilocanos in real-life, but they were convincing even with how the tease or blame each other. Perla Bautista appeared in a short but striking presence as a matriarch in control of her sons. Lander Vera-Perez and Yayo Aguila were creepy. Huhu iskeribels.

The story is timely. There are some people who only wants to live comfortably at peace and contentment, but everything changes when greed comes in the people around you. It’s a domino effect and sadly, most people resort to violence in order to save their own lives and survive.

Honor the Making (part 1)The director and the cast, led by John Lloyd Cruz, Meryll Soriano, and Krystal Brimmer, talk about the making of #honorthyfather over lunch. Happy Birthday, Erik Matti!

Posted by Honor Thy Father on Sunday, December 20, 2015

Erik Matti is one brave director to tackle such issue in a movie. It’s sad that the film is disqualified for the Best Picture Award, but I think it did more good than harm to the film’s box-office as people are now in a rush to catch it before the cinema owners remove it. Nakakalungkot na kailangan may kontrobersiya pa bago siya panoorin ng mga tao.

Part Two of Direk Erik’s special lunch with John Lloyd, Meryll and *ehem* Best Child Performer winner Krystal Brimner. 😀 Congrats to our Angel! Your HTF family is very proud of you. *Tumubo na po ang buhok niya. Yung kay Direk, hindi pa masyado. :DWe fight. We move. And we keep going, no matter what. :) Watch Honor Thy Father, still in cinemas. #honorthyfather #ripmmff2015 #demandforhonorthyfather #sinebolusyon

Posted by Honor Thy Father on Monday, December 28, 2015

Hindi pa huli ang lahat – manood na! If the movie is not available in cinemas near you, just call them and demand for it to be shown. Please also support Nilalang who gained 5 awards, but is currently just shown in 5 cinemas.

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