buwaya cinemalaya 2014Verdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.24 (21 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Writer/Director: Francis Xavier Pasion

Cast: Angeli Bayani, Karl Medina, RS Francisco, Jolina Salvado

Synopsis: Divina is preparing for her daughter Rowena’s 13th birthday when she hears shocking news: her daughter has been attacked by a crocodile, her body still missing. As Divina searches for the body of her daughter in the marshlands of Agusan del Sur, she learns a lesson more tragic than her fate: not all predators are underwater. The film is based on actual events.

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 98 mins



4.5         Jennifer Dugena (PEP)

Bwaya doesn’t push audiences to root for, side with or wish punishment for anyone or anything. It allows audiences the freedom to just watch and see so that (in the words of the real-life Divina) the world will (hopefully)”not forget” about her daughter.” (Read full review)

4.0         Oggs Cruz (Philippine Star)

“As with all of his works, Pasion, by making his own methods of filmmaking as bait for discourse on the thin line that separates art and exploitation, establishes countless layers within a simple tale of grief, making Bwaya a film that satisfyingly perplexes as much as it sensually pleases.”  (Read capsule review)

4.0         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

“This commitment to authenticity elevated a culturally distinct story into something universal, which is the pain of losing a young child and having no control over powerful unfathomable forces.” (Read full review)

4.0         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Tahimik ito, payapa at parang natural light lang ang ginamit na ilaw. Hindi ito naghuhumiyaw at nagsasabing s’ya ang bida sa pelikula kahit na breathtaking na mismo ang nasabing lugar. Dahil dito, maayos na naipinta ang contrast ng pagiging kalmado n’ong community (kabilang ang relasyon ng mga tao rito) at ang turmoil mula sa trahedyang naganap.” (Read full review)

4.0         Renelson Morelos (Ramblings of a Film Urchin)

“Pasion tells his story in a deliberate and deceptively calm manner that it tends to evoke that there’s something sinister and dangerous lurking beneath and around the tranquil marshland – and not necessarily in the form of predatory reptiles.” (Read full review)

3.5         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

“A gorgeous-looking, well-meaning film that unfortunately stumbles towards the last act as it searches for a purpose higher than the mere retelling of a tragedy. The ‘crocodiles on land’ thesis is not well fleshed out, and I’m not sold on the decision to include the interviews and footage of the real parents as it makes the film feel like a TV documentary, which ironically makes the filmmakers seem complicit to the very media exploitation that the film criticizes.

3.5         Jason Jacobo (Young Critics Circle)

“Angeli Bayani inhabits the role of a hysteric so well that she herself can no longer predict the pendulum of breakdown, save for that moment of waking upon fake filigrees strewn all over her forlorn face. The last mistress of screen madness could only be Lolita Rodriguez, until this actress.” (Read full review)

3.5         J. Neil Garcia

“On one hand, not even the shamanistic voiceover of an ancient Manobo crocodile story can render the tragic incident’s actual (deadly) reptile mythically resonant; on the other, there’s that commonsensical question that isn’t remotely answered by the film–of how this horrific ‘event’ couldn’t have been the first that this riverine community has had to face, and yet it seems to be that way, going by the film’s dramatic focus on the mother’s singular and bottomless grief (a role played exceptionally well by the increasingly formidable Angeli Bayani). (Read full review)

3.5         Jonell Estillore (Film Police)

“The cinematic direction boasted in Bwaya is just the tip of the iceberg; the story in itself is consuming that it is impossible to easily let go of the phantasmagoria it intends to create inside one’s soul.” (Read full review)

3.5         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“The allure of Bwaya is not simply that Divina is a special case among mothers, but that she is special because she is a mother. And that resounding statement, whether it’s communicated through fact or fiction, is elegantly conveyed in Bwaya.” (Read full review)

3.5         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

Bwaya is a fascinating look into the lives of these people in the marshes. But with an ending that feels incomplete the overall effect is blunted a bit.” (Read full review)

3.5         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“There is no denying the fact that Bwaya is a really well made film. It is masterfully shot. There were moments of just pure beauty. Those aerial shots were stunning and just beautiful.  The pacing and the shifting from documentary feel to the narrative was fluid… However, compared to Pasion’s other works, I was not that affected or emotionally connected to it.” (Read full review)

3.5         Misstache

“The cinematography was simple yet beautiful especially the aerial shots, the opening wide shot of the lake, the cloud-filled sky, and the rainbow. The whole film evokes a sense of calmness and terror at the same time. I liked how they did not resort to exaggeration; its simplicity is its asset.” (Read full review)

3.0         Jessica Zafra (InterAksyon)

Bwaya may be an impressive achievement, but when will this talented filmmaker stop aiming for ‘achievement’ and take a real risk? When do we see the soul behind the technique? That’s something to look forward to.” (Read full review)

3.0         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“What faults I find in its approach were almost made up by the fantastic visual scenes in the film. Those wide aerial shots of the rivers and the boats are just breathtaking to see, and given the difficulties and circumstances of shooting there, it was really impressive. Angeli Bayani continues her streak of great performances; her portrayal of Divina is both heartbreaking and vulnerable.” (Read full review)

3.0         Macky Macarayan (The FilmSoc Report)

“While the film makes the crocodile who snatched Rowena the obvious antagonist, it also carries an understatement that not all predators are underwater, as Divina (Angeli Bayani) finds out. The only regret in Bwaya is that Pasion could have explored this understatement further, instead of just mentioning it as a matter-of-fact.” (Read full review)

3.0         Emil Hofileña (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“The cinematography tells the story so much better than the actual dialogue and plot. Through mood alone that these shots establish, it adds so much to the story. However we’re really not given that much to chew on. There’s so much room here for substance and sometimes this movie tries to go into these deeper topics but it just does not at all. We’re left with a slow-paced story that is extremely straightforward.” (Watch video review)

2.5         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“Amongst the fictional staging, the film also presents dialogue with people who seem to be the actual individuals the film is based on. It ultimately tries to bring these two parts together, and adds some moments of abstract experimentation as it goes along. It’s intriguing, but it’s inconsistent, and really doesn’t seem to work and doesn’t seem to make sense.” (Read full review)

2.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The movie almost seems to exist as a form of grief counseling for the bereaved parents of Rowena. And that’s fine, I suppose, but I’m not entirely sure it’s something that should be seen by other people.” (Read full review)

1.5         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“What is sick about it is not the film, which, removing the meta elements, is in fact a persuasive look into the various layers of violence experienced by being born and raised poor, but the filmmaking—the insistence on pointing a finger, the tenacity to draw attention to oneself and appear bright and thoughtful in the midst of anguish, and the nerve to make the audience feel such disproportioned terror, showing the infinity of excuses that comes with freedom of expression.” (Read full review)

1.5         Ian Rosales Casocot (The Spy in the Sandwich)

“The film seems to provide an answer near its long-awaited end: to concretise in film the memory of a girl eaten by a crocodile in the marsh’s shallow waters. But the attempt honestly feels so derivative and so superficial, one is rather tempted to forget.” (Read full review)


#YVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.25 (18 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Gino M. Santos

Writer: Jeff Stelton

Cast: Elmo Magalona, Coleen Garcia, Sophie Albert, Kit Thompson, Slater Young, Chynna Ortaleza

Synopsis: #Y chronicles the adventures of the members of this generation know for their affinity with social media and the Internet, and combines this with a tale of sex, drugs, and alcohol, and the nights they won’t remember but will never forget.

MTRCB rating: R-13

Running time: 100 mins



5.0         Jaynormous Mind

“It truly is a must-watch! It may seem like another film about Generation Y but it’s surprisingly not like the norm. Not only it achieved great in the technical aspects, it’s also one of the most important Filipino films I’ve seen in the recent years. This movie is aces.” (Read full review)

4.5         Misstache

“It has a style of storytelling that steers away from giving sympathy to its lead characters but that won’t keep you from caring. The cinematography, the musical scoring, the energetic vibe it gives off– they fall nothing short of Santos’ trademark that would really engage the audience.” (Read full review)

4.0         Renelson Morelos (Ramblings of a Film Urchin)

“For today’s generation growing up in the age of FB, Twitter and Instagram, of by-the-minute status updates and hashtags, of iPhones and selfies, Santos and script collaborator Jeff Stelton may just be the ‘unofficial’ spokespersons, even if the mirror that they  are holding up at their own age bracket doesn’t necessarily emit bright rays of light.” (Read full review)

4.0         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“Some parts comedic, some parts dramatic, but definitely cathartic, director Gino M. Santos clearly has a vision of what this film wants to achieve. His humor in dealing what is a sensitive topic for most, reminded me of a crossbreed between Alexander Payne in Election and Wes Anderson in Royal Tenenbaums, is one of the film’s strengths.” (Read full review)

3.5         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

“With this movie, Santos and writer Jeff Stelton have declared themselves the most qualified film chroniclers of the country’s upper-middle class millennials. It’s a huge responsibility, and I believe they’re up to the task. #Y retains the same vibrant energy as The Animals but now it’s less a cautionary tale of the excesses of the young and more an inside peek at privileged kids’ collective psyche.”

3.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The film finds a compelling measure of insight into a world that’s often simply dismissed as idle juvenilia. The film could probably stand to lose an element or two, some of it feeling a little gimmicky. But in its quietest moments, it offers up an affecting level of human compassion for a too easily dismissed subset of our society.” (Read full review)

3.5         Benedict Bartolome (PEP)

#Y is a slick production with modern sensibilities.  The twist, the fake-out, the testimonial treatment and general demeanor of the cast scream foreign influences but it still presents a cutting look into the pulse of the troubled teen.” (Read full review)

3.5         Armando dela Cruz (Film Police)

“Director Gino M. Santos and screenwriter Jeff Stelton delve deep into the melding psyches of the millennial youth, literally jumping into one conyo mind to the next, hearing exactly their desires, insecurities and curiosities.” (Read full review)

3.5         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Malinaw rin ang boses ng pelikula. Nag-uumigting ‘yong energy n’ya, nakakahawa. Refreshing. Mula sa editing hanggang sa cinematography, distinct ang pagiging youthful n’ya. Kahit ‘yong script, may sarili ring dating.” (Read full review)

3.5         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

#Y also provides many moviegoers a glimpse of the lives of privileged teens in this Third World country. Yes, wake up upper class Mellinnials, listen to us lower class/lower middle class Generation Xs. You live in the Third World. Deal with it!” (Read full review)

3.5         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“I feel I would’ve preferred the film more if it had focused on the ideas of suicide and the alienation a teenager could experience due to the lack of the sense of belonging, and the peer pressure to fit that sense. It does choose to focus on capturing youth, and though the way it presents what it understands is interesting, the eventual content is not entirely that appealing, and maybe even not entirely insightful.” (Read full review)

3.0         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“The film yells for attention with its talkative script and its overly stylized scenes. Its bludgeoning voiceovers suffocate its characters instead of allowing the visuals to speak for itself. But maybe that’s exactly the predisposition of the Y generation, to clamor in the loudest voice possible in hopes that someone is listening.” (Read full review)

3.0         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

“I find it difficult to relate to Miles as a character. I sympathize with him, but his motivations and viewpoints towards life are opaque and hidden behind his skewed mental state. Unfortunately, for me, like The Animals, I found it hard to gain an emotional connection with the film. Am I cynical? Am I just too old or jaded to care? I’m not really sure.” (Read full review)

3.0         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“Santos can never do wrong with a material and story such as this. It seems that he knows the environment he is in and knows the stories of the people surrounding him  and he tells these stories with clarity, truth and aplomb which makes me think that he clearly is one of the young filmmakers to watch out for.” (Read full review)

3.0         Don Jaucian (Philippine Star)

“It’s tough to make a film on millennials; they will either end up looking like wizened young adults, scarred by the ills of the real world, or smartphone-wielding, whiny sons-of-bi*ches. #Y fortunately ends up on the former, but putting the bulk of the film’s emotional load on a clunky actor is a tall order — especially if his character happens to be the film’s psychological core.” (Read full review)

2.5         Emil Hofilena (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“When your movie is about suicide, if that’s a major theme, you have the responsibility as a filmmaker to not deal with it lightly because suicide, for me at least, is a very big, complex topic, and the way they present it here is way too simplified to the point that I think the ending is offensive. All I was looking for was for the director to give insight into suicide… In my opinion, this movie really does glorify suicide, and that’s not cool.” (Watch video review)

1.0         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“Santos and writer Jeff Stelton should have known better than pulling the angst card and making the suicide feel trivial and frivolous, unable to capture the nuance of it that is actually universal, preferring instead to show the layer that gleams with self-congratulation.” (Read full review)

1.0         Macky Macarayan (The FilmSoc Report)

“At the end, there is no reprieve. There is no hope. Is this what the film wishes to deliver as postscript, that the generation Y is fucked no matter what?” (Read full review)

Somebody to Love

somebody-to-loveVerdict: Proceed with Caution

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 2.88 (4 ratings)

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Writer/Director: Jose Javier Reyes

Cast: Carla Abellana, Matteo Guidicelli, Jason Abalos, Maricar Reyes, Isabelle Daza, Iza Calzado, David Chua

Synopsis: TV personality Marga (Iza Calzado) is struggling in the ratings. She hatches a plan to get her back in the headlines, and therefore back on top. Her friend Val (Isabelle Daza) is visiting from Hong Kong, and hooks up with her regular fling Tristan (Matteo Guidicelli). Over the course of the week, the two are forced to confront the status of their relationship. Tristan’s sister Sophie (Maricar Reyes) is having trouble in her marriage. Her husband Dan (David Chua) has grown distant because of her inability to have children, and soon enough she discovers that he might not be all that faithful. Sabrina (Carla Abellana) is working in a marketing pitch for Tristan’s company, all the while dealing with the sad possibility that her best friend Nicco (Jason Abalos) might be leaving for the States. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: R-13

Running time: 105 mins



3.5         Mario Bautista (Showbiz Portal)

“Direk Joey is well served by his big cast, who deliver fine ensemble acting… The standout for us among the ladies is Isabelle Daza who, as she has shown before in It Takes a Man and a Woman and Lihis, is such an effortless natural actress.” (Read full review)

3.0         Oggs Cruz (Rappler)

Somebody to Love, with its quick but efficient stabs at contemporary society’s humorous excesses, is a romp whose pronounced inconsistency is both blessing and bane.” (Read full review)


“Huwag maghanap ng malalim na kahulugan sa buhay at pag-ibig at magugustuhan mong panoorin ang pelikulang ito. Simple at straightforward ang mga storylines at dialogue na ginamit. Magaan ang trato sa gay storyline – plus points para sa pelikulang ito. Kahit ang kabuuan ng pelikula ay puro dialogue, hindi ka mabo-bore dahil sa mga nakakatawang moments na nagkalat sa buong pelikula.” (Read full review)

2.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“It gets so caught up in the gimmick of having these intersecting, parallel narratives that it ends up failing to tell those stories well. Some of the stories in the movie are actually worth telling, but they find little room to breathe within this needlessly labyrinthine structure.” (Read full review)

Talk Back and You’re Dead

Talk-Back-and-Youre-Dead-PosterVerdict: Proceed with Caution

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 2.10 (5 ratings)

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Director: Andoy Ranay

Writer: Keiko Aquino

Cast: James Reid, Nadine Lustre, Joseph Marco

Synopsis: Samantha (Nadine Lustre) mistakenly stands up to Top (James Reid), the leader of a notorious gang on behalf of her best friend. Much to her surprise, rather than make her suffer for her offense, Top instead asks her out. At first, it appears to be nothing more than a strange scheme, but soon enough the two develop real feelings for each other. But there are all sorts of things standing in the way of their potential happiness. There is the issue of Top’s shady past. And then there’s the revelation that Samantha is actually promised to someone else. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 120 mins



3.0         Pinoy Exchange

Talk Back and You’re Dead feels like it has bitten off more than it can chew, yet in a way it feels okay with the kilig that the leads bring to the picture. It’s not the type of movie that can explain the deeper meaning of life, but it is the movie that can melt your heart.” (Read full review)

2.5         Gia Allana Soriano (PEP)

Talk Back and You’re Dead is a teen flick meant for young teens and the teen at heart. It’s pure romance with unresolved sub-plots. It’s entertaining as long as you don’t look any deeper than the kilig and don’t expect more than the giddy feelings idealistic love can give.” (Read full review)


“Panoorin kung fan ka ni James Reid or ng JaDine at gusto mong maaliw sa mga eksena nila. Kung istorya ang habol mo, mas OK kung babasahin mo na lang yung libro kung saan based ang pelikulang ito. Otherwise, panoorin kung wala ka nang ibang magawa.” (Read full review)

1.5         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“Fans of the original novelette may be able to make sense of what’s going on, but for the rest of us, Talk Back and You’re Dead is a mish-mash of scenes that are neither sensible nor logical.” (Read full review)

1.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“By the end, Talk Back and You’re Dead makes so little sense that it may as well be taking place in an entirely different universe. What starts out as a weird little tale of animosity growing into affection turns into a monster of melodramatic convolutions reliant on information that’s mostly hidden from the audience.” (Read full review)

Barber’s Tales

1-Barbers Tales PosterVerdict: Essential Viewing

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 4.08 (13 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Writer/Director: Jun Lana

Cast: Eugene Domingo, Iza Calzado, Shamaine Buencamino, Nonie Buencamino, Gladys Reyes, Nicco Manalo, Sue Prado, Daniel Fernando, Eddie Garcia

Synopsis: The year is 1975. Marilou (Eugene Domingo) is the wife of Jose (Daniel Fernando), the only barber in a small, provincial town. She lives completely subservient to her husband, obeying his every whim and turning a blind eye to his extramarital activities. And then one day, he dies in bed. Marilou, who has been cutting her husband’s hair all these years, reluctantly takes over the barber shop. Soon, she becomes embroiled in the affairs of the town’s mayor (Nonie Buencamino) and his long-suffering wife (Iza Calzado), and finds herself harboring rebels from the oppressive regime. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: R-13

Running time: 119 mins



5.0         Rito Asilo (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

“The film benefits from Lana’s resilient skill at piecing together the deceptively complex patterns of his ornate tales, boosted further by an outstanding cast—most notably, Calzado, Reyes, the Buencamino couple and Sue Prado (as a manipulative hooker)—that vigorously  keeps up with the production’s thematic and dramatic ambitions.” (Read full review)

4.5         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

“The ensemble cast is amazing, a perfect example of underrated acting that highlights the characters more than the actors. Not a single performance was flawed. Everyone was in top form regardless of screen time. Leading the pack is Eugene Domingo, who gave the best performance of her career so far.” (Read full review)

4.5         Fred Hawson (Fred Said)

“Lana, fresh from his success with Bwakaw last year, comes up with yet another excellent character study.  What he does for gay senior citizens in the first film, he does for women in this film. On top of that, he adds on a layer of interesting historical and social commentary which for me, makes this film even better and substantive than Bwakaw.” (Read full review)

4.5         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“Lana is able to constantly create a mesmerizing air of silence, and is able to reach compelling heights when the story takes drastic turns. Yet strangely enough, he still finds time to inject comedic and lighthearted moments within the mix which may seem out of place, but overall simply adds to the film’s charm.” (Read full review)

4.0         Oggs Cruz (Rappler)

“Its rhythm is gradual and measured, never rushing only for the sake of plot. The film is peppered with humor, which seems to poke fun at how men, who are depicted in the film as either weak or needy, are subservient to women despite their control.” (Read full review)

4.0         Pablo Tariman (Philippine Star)

“Everything about Barber’s Tales illumines a riveting story so simple and yet so encompassing in its hold on the audience. Lana as director and scriptwriter is an honest-to-goodness storyteller, who unravels his tale of love, lust and betrayal with cold, if, objective candor.” (Read full review)

4.0         Armando dela Cruz (Film Police)

Barber’s Tales is a skillful rumination of life and how a woman finds her voice in an age where the line between being heard and being listened to is all but a blur.” (Read full review)


“Panoorin ang Barber’s Tales nang hindi inaantok o gutom o nakainom. Kailangang sound ang lahat ng iyong faculties para ma-appreciate ang galing ng Barber’s Tales. Tapos panoorin mo ulit, pero this time, isama mong manood lahat ng kilala mong kabataang hindi lumaki noong dekada sitenta sa rehimeng Marcos.” (Read full review)

4.0         Irvin Malcolm Contreras (A Girl and a Gun)

“Eugene Domingo is a well-known broad comedienne in my country. She takes the lead in a drama and runs away with it. She’s supported by an excellent supporting cast especially Gladys Reyes as her perpetually pregnant neighbor.” (Read full review)

4.0         Bernard Santos (My Movie World)

“Nagustuhan ko kung paano isinulat ang pelikulang ito at kung paano inilahad ang istorya. Habang pinapanood mo ang pelikula ay unti unti mong nakikilala at lumalim ang bawat character sa pelikula.” (Read full review)

4.0         Misstache

“It is quiet in most of its scenes and when it tries to leave an impact, it does so effectively but it has a tendency to have a soap opera kind of momentum and twists. However, Eugene Domingo’s performance pieces the narrative together, overpowering some of the weak points of the film. She delivers her role in a controlled and detached manner, you could easily see the internal struggle in her meekness.” (Read full review)

3.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The film sometimes stumbles in putting together its scenes, stray details undermining the overall effect. But the presence of Eugene Domingo ultimately brings it all together, the actress’ stellar performance overcoming some of the film’s clumsier tendencies.” (Read full review)

3.0         Emil Hofilena (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“Some characters like complaining out loud about Martial Law and explicitly talking about their exact political stances. It feels like Jun Lana is trying to force the story into context when he shouldn’t be doing that. The context should just be there. It should exist. We should know it’s always there. He doesn’t need to force the story in.” (Watch full review)

Trophy Wife

Trophy WifeVerdict: Do Something Else

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 1.88 (4 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Andoy Ranay

Writer: Keiko Aquino

Cast: Cristine Reyes, Derek Ramsay, Heart Evangelista, John Estrada

Synopsis: Some time ago, while passing through Angeles City, Chino (Derek Ramsay) had a tryst with Lani (Cristine Reyes). Their relationship didn’t end well, Chino leaving the naive Lani feeling betrayed and abandoned. Now, Chino is surprised to find that Lani is now married to his brother Sammy (John Estrada). In the time since Chino left her, she’s been carefully plotting her revenge. She soon draws Chino, his brother, and his current girlfriend Gwen (Heart Evangelista) into a complex game of seduction and betrayal. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: R-13

Running time: 110 mins



3.0         Pinoy Exchange

“Upon watching the trailer of Trophy Wife on television, one may easily surmise that it is one of those run-of-the-mill Filipino movies. Viewers however are in for a surprise in every corner as twist after twist are dropped. It could be an exciting viewing experience, if one could get past sketchy production design.” (Read full review)

2.0         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

Trophy Wife does provide some interesting twists to an old story, but the results are so undeniably convoluted, and so ridiculously unbelievable, that it’s difficult to take the film seriously.” (Read full review)

1.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The film simply lacks the conviction to follow its story through, to commit to the zaniness of its plot. What results is utter nonsense, and nothing worth watching.” (Read full review)

1.0         Jonell Estillore (Film Police)

“In the attempt to swerve away from the commonest of the mistress genre and its appeal to the general public, Trophy Wife dares to be different by giving the formula yet another stir, only to eventually wound up into a ridiculous resolution.” (Read full review)

She’s Dating the Gangster

Shes-Dating-the-Gangster-Movie-PosterVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.30 (10 ratings)

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Director: Cathy Garcia-Molina

Writer: Carmi Raymundo (based on the novel of Bianca Bernardino)

Cast: Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Dawn Zulueta, Richard Gomez

Synopsis: She’s Dating the Gangster splits its story between two time periods. In present day, Kenneth (Daniel Padilla) is traveling to Legaspi, hoping to find his father Kenji (Richard Gomez) among the survivors of a plane crash. He’s accompanied by Kelay (Kathryn Bernardo), who insists that her aunt Athena is actually Kenji’s great love. As they travel, Kelay tells Kenneth their story. In the early nineties, a heartbroken Kenji (also played by Daniel Padilla) enlists the aid of Athena (Kathryn Bernardo) in the hopes of making his ex-girlfriend Abigail jealous. While the two don’t really get along at first, their game of pretend turns into something real. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 105 mins




“It’s a perfect vehicle for a love team with the strongest chemistry anywhere, as their fans get two stories in one movie. It needs to be mentioned that Bernardo is able to differentiate her two characters using subtle but effective acting variations.” (Read full review)

3.5         Oggs Cruz (Twitch)

She’s Dating the Gangster is not art. It is still a film designed and crafted for escape, the ones Garcia-Molina, with her knack for fake hairpieces and dreamy fantasies, is so good at making. It is however entertainment that is self-aware.” (Read full review)

3.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

She’s Dating the Gangster is at its best when it allows kids to be kids. Its portrayal of young, intensely romantic love is really charming, especially placed as it is in this wacky conception of its period setting. It’s a bit of a shame that the story had to try so hard to bring big, mortal choices into the picture.” (Read full review)

3.5         Rito Asilo (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

She’s Dating The Gangster is weighed down by a shrill and too-eager-to-please beginning, but grows on you as it slowly finds its footing. The story that plays out onscreen is far from seamless, but the movie’s inspired sections make it greater than the sum of its disjointed parts.” (Read full review)

3.5         Fred Hawson (Fred Said: Movies)

“Both sets of actors have so much positive chemistry with each other that it radiates through the screen into the movie theater. They do not even have to speak to titillate their rapt audiences.” (Read full review)

3.0         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

She’s Dating the Gangster is a teen love story peppered with surprisingly mature themes. But at the end of the day, it’s a love story that doesn’t fight hard enough or dig deep enough. It’s a film that is admittedly delightful, and satisfyingly charming, but it’s also a film that doesn’t challenge its material or its characters.” (Read full review)

3.0         Aya Tantiangco (

“It’s like a play William Shakespeare himself wrote, before he got his act together and made something more intense… It’s more than a little contrived but Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla manage to manage to insert a bit of dialogue that adds a bit of fresh insight to the formula.”  (Read full review)

3.0         Julia Allende (PEP)

“She’s Dating the Gangster is a charming and entertaining romp made for teenagers, many of whom believe that love—no, great love—triumphs in the end. But filmmakers should not underestimate the intelligence of youngsters and should be brave enough to explore the deeper and, yes, the darker side of love.” (Read full review)

3.0         Emil Hofileña (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

She’s Dating the Gangster is not a great movie but it does have its moments and Cathy Garcia-Molina really does take this material which has a potential to be really bland and makes it fresh. She really knows how to work with the most clichéd elements and just wring emotion out of them.” (Watch full review)

3.0         Pinoy Exchange

She’s Dating the Gangster combines kilig with drama with a properly-paced story. It exploits the chemistry between Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo and runs away with it. The film however suffers from bad production design that seems staged as well as sluggish character development.” (Read full review)


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