TransitVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.98 (20 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Writer/Director: Hannah Espia

Cast: Irma Adlawan, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Ping Medina, Mercedes Cabral, Marc Justine Alvarez

Synopsis: The film begins and ends in an airport during a father and son’s transit flight from Tel Aviv to Manila.  It tells the story of Moises, a Filipino single-dad working as a caregiver in Herzliya, Israel, who comes home to his apartment in Tel Aviv to celebrate his son Joshua’s 4th birthday. It was on that day that Moises, together with their Filipino neighbors Janet, and her daughter Yael, find out that the Israeli government is going to deport children of foreign workers.  Afraid of the new law, Moises and Janet decide to hide their children from the immigration police by making them stay inside the house.

MTRCB Rating: PG

Running Time: 93 mins.

Trailer: 

Reviews:

5.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

Transit is a complete triumph, and one of the best feature film debuts by a director in recent memory. It displays a deep understanding of storytelling and drama, paired with a marked sense of restraint that just makes everything more powerful.” (Read full review)

5.0         Wanggo Gallaga (Juice)

“A strong script and very good story-telling by the director, it is so wonderful to watch a Filipino film that trusts its material by not forcing the melodrama. The situation in itself is powerful and intense and the director never feels like she has to punch the scenes and emphasise the drama, letting the strength of the story and the magnificent cast to illustrate it.” (Read full review)

5.0         Irvin Malcolm Contreras (A Girl and a Gun)

“Writer-director Hannah Espia tells her story in fragments and presents a sad but very humanist story which does not resort cheap melodrama and the stereotypical Filipino histrionics, the emotions feel authentic and honest. The acting is outstanding all around, and creatively edited and beautifully shot. It’s a remarkable piece of filmmaking.” (Read capsule review)

4.5         Noli Manaig (Closely Watched Frames)

“Never, it must be said, has a Filipino production on foreign soil demonstrated such a mature and elegant assurance — never with such controlled drama, with such a familiarity of time and place, with such a marshaling of resources, with such scope and detail, with such texture and tone — that easily outpaces preconceptions of what the world has come to dismiss as the conventional Filipino film.” (Read full review)

4.5         Oggs Cruz (Twitch)

Transit is a marvel of restraint and control. Embellished sparingly with visuals that are never too extravagant, too opulent to distract, the film is painted with delicate colors, which complements the fragile situations the characters move in.” (Read full review)

4.5         Skilty Labastilla (Young Critics Circle)

“Certainly one of the best debut features in Philippine cinema. Espia possesses that rare intelligence and sensibility to pluck our heartstrings without us feeling we’re being manipulated. And, if life is fair, Jasmine Curtis-Smith should be the one appearing in more movies, not her sister.” (Read capsule review)

4.5         Mario Bautista (Showbiz Portal)

“Well directed, well acted, with good technical values and a story that has international appeal, we believe “Transit” should be nominated as our next representative in the Oscar best foreign language film category.” (Read full review)

4.5         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“One of the best things about Transit is how it connects its characters and stories seamlessly.” (Read capsule review)

4.0         Noli Manaig (Closely Watched Frames)

“Never, it must be said, has a Filipino production on foreign soil demonstrated such a mature and elegant assurance — never with such controlled drama, with such a familiarity of time and place, with such a marshaling of resources, with such scope and detail, with such texture and tone — that easily outpaces preconceptions of what the world has come to dismiss as the conventional Filipino film.” (Read full review)

4.0         Robert San Miguel (Brun Magazine)

“Instead of providing a preachy critique, Espia handles the film like a narrative documentary sans the usual “talk-to-the-camera” shots.  She lets the stories of each character unfold, paying equal attention to each character.” (Read full review)

4.0         Renelson Morelos (Re[e]l Thoughts)

“There is nothing that tugs the heart more of the audience than seeing children in such a precarious situation. The story even achieves a high degree of dramatic resonance as the director employs repetition and multi-character perspective (ala-Rashomon, minus the truth vs. reality conceit though), which allow the viewers to see the situation from different emotional levels (be that of the child or of the adult).” (Read full review)

4.0         Aya Tantiangco (Spot.ph)

“It is tempting to call it quiet but rather than being devoid of sound, it’s cleverly muted. It does not want something to say, it wants to say something.” (Read full review)

4.0         Emil Nor Urao (E-Reviews)

“Ang Transit ay isang makabagbag-damdaming istorya ng maagang paglipat mula pagkabata tungo sa kamulatan. Mahusay ang pagkagawa nito at karapat-dapat lang ipalaganap sa buong mundo.” (Read full review)

3.5         Fred Hawson (Fred Said: Movies)

“The story of illegal OFWs may also not be too flattering in the international scene. But the high quality of story-telling and film-making by director Hannah Espia makes this film worth catching.” (Read full review)

3.5         Eduardo Dayao (Piling Piling Pelikula)

” I really like its quietude and restraint. Very assured filmmaking, uniformly excellent acting, albeit a bit straightforward and conventional dramatically, but by the time we get to the end, that twinge you feel is genuine. The NGO factoids nearly ruined it for me though, given how the stark empty images that came with it were far more poetic and resonant on their own.” (Read full review)

3.0         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“What moves the film along is not the decisions made by the characters, which could have been more striking, but the drama already existing, a storytelling tradition that most local filmmakers tend to consider more sincere.” (Read full review)

3.0         Derek Elley (Film Business Asia)

“(Writers) Abrahan and Espia choose to tell it in a roundabout way — moving back and forth in time, and replaying scenes in a fuller version later on — that’s initially intriguing (as earlier events are put into context) but in the latter half starts to wear out its welcome when the film should be building some real drama and an emotive head of steam.” (Read full review)

3.0         Stephanie Mayo (Films and Events Check)

“The movie cannot seem to find another tool in bringing on the next character drama without taking us back to the exact same ‘core scenes,’ torturing me with the same dialogue exchanges and scenes that made me want to scream.” (Read full review)

2.0         J. Pilapil Jacobo (Young Critics Circle)

“The fetishistic commitment to describe the ethnicity of this locale falters in engaging the trauma that besieges the Israeli state—the Palestinian question, a most peripheral but the least distant counterpoint to the Philippine predicament. The failure to determine the truth of this confluence accounts for a perspective on the diaspora drafted from the script of xenophobic neurosis.” (Read full review)

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