Verdict: Essential Viewing

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 4.17 (29 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Writer/Director: Jun Robles Lana

Cast: Eddie Garcia, Rez Cortez, Soliman Cruz, Armida Siguion-Reyna, Bibeth Orteza, Soxie Topacio, Joey Paras, Beverly Salviejo, Gardo Versoza, Alan Paule, Luz Valdez, Jonathan Neri, Ronaldo Bertubin, May-I Fabros and introducing Princess as Bwakaw

Synopsis:  Rene (Garcia) is a gay man who came out of the closet at age 70. Ailing in his twilight years, he thinks it is now too late for love, even companionship, and that all there is to look forward to is Death. He has made a will, bequeathing his few possessions to his even fewer friends. Everything is packed and labeled, ready for distribution. He has even paid for a coffin, taking advantage of a funeral home’s Summer Sale. Nowadays the only companion Rene has is Bwakaw, a stray dog that hangs around his house and follows him wherever he goes. As Rene waits for the day of his death, he gets the surprise of his life when it is Bwakaw who suddenly falls ill and is diagnosed with cancer.

Trailer: 

Review:

5.0      Noli Manaig (Closely Watched Frames)

“A meditation on old age and death, Bwakaw is splendidly leavened by acerbic wit and rough humor.” (Read full review)

5.0       Cathy Peña (Make Me Blush)

“More than homage, Lana weaves a tale rich with snippets of both unbridled hilarity and regulated emotional bearing.” (Read full review)

5.0       Zig Marasigan (Lagarista)

“I was reminded once again of the power of cinema. The cathartic nature of the silver screen not only for its makers, but for its viewers. The magic of communicating something fictional, but crafting it in a way that expresses something real.” (Read full review)

5.0       Katrina Stuart Santiago (GMA News)

Bwakaw is sensitive and funny, where Lana is able to manipulate the expected into being laughable, and absurdity becomes acceptable truth.” (Read full review)

5.0       Julien Merced Matabuena (Manila Bulletin)

“The best thing about Jun Robles Lana’s latest opus, Bwakaw, is that it managed to tell the conventional—not to mention imaginably depressing—stories of coming to terms with one’s self late in life and growing old alone, yet put a surprisingly optimistic twist to it.” (Read full review)

5.0      Maridol Rañoa-Bismark (Yahoo Philippines)

“Each scene takes you on a roller coaster of emotions, thanks to Rene and Bwakaw.  And you can’t help but go where every jolt, every bump on the road takes you.” (Read full review)

5.0      Kikko Kalabud (Hot for Movies)

“Jun Lana handles Bwakaw as lightly as possible yet (it’s) still very gripping, with just enough humour, intelligence and heart.” (Read full review)

5.0      Nel Costales (1505 Film Avenue)

“Director Jun Lana crafted a film so good that if only the late comedy king Dolphy had a film like this in his oeuvre, then there’s a higher chance of him being hailed as a National Artist for Film.” (Read full review)

5.0       Taking a Break

“The story is rich with characters who seem to have been plucked out from our everyday lives–but they’re given such colorful characterization that they might seem larger than life at first.” (Read full review)

5.0       Present Confusion

“Eddie Garcia delivers the performance of his career as Rene. Although irascible, you never really hate his character.” (Read full review)

5.0       Ihcahieh

“Garcia plays his role con mucho gusto that you just could not help but shower him with praises. The supporting cast members do not disappoint either, and many moments are stolen by the gay beautician assistant played by Paras through his character’s loud demeanor.” (Read full review)

5.0       Jowana Bueser (The Birth of Damnation)

“The film tackles aging and loneliness yet the best thing about it is humor.” (Read full review)

4.0       Skilty Labastilla (Young Critics Circle)

“Jun Lana has finally found his film. This is moviemaking at its finest. There’s nothing new about the story or treatment, but the combination of excellent acting, writing, and directing could not be brushed aside. People will still react positively to such ‘tired’ but universal themes as love, friendship, acceptance, grief, and redemption, when they are presented with honesty and with no affectation.”

4.0       Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“There’s a lot of talent on display here, but the film’s astonishing heart is what makes it worth everyone’s time.” (Read full review)

4.0       Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“Both funny and touching, I find this as one of the more enjoyable entries of this year’s filmfest.” (Read full review)

4.0       Rob San Miguel (The Chair)

“Mahusay ang direksyon ni Lana. Hindi niya minadali ang pag-usad ng kwento. Hinayaan niyang makilala ng manonood ang mga karakter.” (Read full review)

4.0       Jerky San Pedro (The Daily Anomaly)

“A dreary depiction of rural life and of growing old alone and miserable that slowly gains color, bolstered by  the top-notch performance of Eddie Garcia.” (Read full review)

4.0       Carl Joseph Papa (Whatever, Carl)

“What I loved about the film was that it was not THAT sentimental with its scenes.  Especially towards the end where it could easily be blown to gigantic melodrama proportions.” (Read full review)

4.0       Arvel Salcedo (Spot Reviews)

“Wild applause to Eddie Garcia for a fine portrayal of a bitter old old lone grump.” (Read full review)

4.0       Joal Eduarte (Cinephiles)

“I like the hush, minimalist style of direction and relaxed pacing. The humor was great too – so great, in fact, that it overpowers the film’s ability to elicit the sympathy of the audience towards its characters and plot at a higher emotional level. A lot of scenes could have been really powerful had the comedic elements present in them been toned down, or in some cases, removed altogether.”

4.0        Edwin Sallan (InterAksyon)

“Feels like an MMK episode and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Well-written, well-acted, nicely photographed. One of the festival’s best.”

3.5        Vincenzo Tagle (We Talk About Movies)

“The movie would have benefited from better focus and tighter editing, but for what it is, it is sufficiently entertaining and occasionally touching.” (Read full review)

3.5        Don Jaucian (Philippine Star)

“Lana thankfully doesn’t overplay Rene’s relationship with his askal, Bwakaw, to melodramatic heights and instead uses to flesh out Rene’s fears and frustrations about living a life full of regrets and bitterness.” (Read full review)

3.5        CBCP CINEMA

“Bagama’t wala nang kailangan pang patunayan ang isang Eddie Garcia, nagawa niyang buhayin ang katauhan ni Rene nang hindi kinakailangang maging stereotyped.” (Read full review)

3.0        Oggs Cruz (ABS-CBNews)

“Delightfully unhurried, Bwakaw manages to make stretches of quietude and nothingness both entertaining and meaningful. It also helps that the film’s images are composed, lighted, and framed exquisitely.” (Read full review)

3.0        Eduardo Dayao (Cinephiles)

“Has several narrative threads and nuances worth honing in on, particularly the Armida-Eddie romance and the saint in the bedroom, that I sort of wish it honed in on more. And any film about a man and his dog automatically gets a star from me, no matter how schmaltzy it gets. This doesn’t get half as schmaltzy as it could’ve. Some of the acting and the comedy bits (the heart attack) gets a little grating but for the most part, it’s funny and affecting. Eddie’s perf is a no-brainer. Conventional and harmless, on the whole, though.”

3.0        Scud in Real Life

“Eddie Garcia is hilarious and terrifying in his madness.” (Read full review)

3.0        Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special)

“Malaking bagay sa isang tao ang umibig pero ang may pinakamalaking pitak sa pag-ibig na ito ay ang pagmamahal sa sarili.” (Read full review)

2.5        Fred Hawson (Fred Said: Movies)

“The main fault of this film is that there were no big surprises at all. There were no hidden symbolisms or deeper meanings. It did not challenge me to think at all.” (Read full review)