BendorVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.06 (8 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Ralston Jover

Writers: Ralston Jover, Marizali Quitania

Cast: Vivian Velez, Anna Luna, Sue Prado, Simon Ibarra, Evelyn Vargas, Lester Llansang, Sunshine Teodoro, Chanel Latorre, Apollo Abraham, Nico Antonio, Czarina Alcantara

Synopsis: Bendor follows Blondie (Vivian Velez), a grandmother who makes her living selling all sorts of things, including abortifacient pills on the sly. She also serves as a middleman for an illegal abortion clinic, escorting young girls that want to terminate their pregnancies. One day, her estranged husband gets a heart attack, and she struggles to come up with the money to pay for his hospital stay. And in the midst of all this trouble, she starts something extraordinary: a woman that looks exactly like her, walking the same streets she does. (Click the City)

Trailer: 

Reviews:

4.5         Renelson Morelos (Reel Thoughts)

“As the title character, Vivian Velez is such a marvel to behold. Deglamorized and present in almost every scene, she completely holds the film together, displaying both toughness and vulnerability as a woman who confronts, defies and plays with her fate, becoming both an anti-hero and a sympathetic character.” (Read full review)

4.0         Noli Manaig (Closely Watched Frames)

“Jover can only step back and gesture again toward the overly-examined subjects, a virtual re-establishing shot of the marginal spaces, as if we were back to square one because, after all, the other and the oppressed must speak, even if, troublingly, they point to a hopeless prognosis, a bleak metastasis of poverty and the social ills it has spawned.” (Read full review)

3.5         Oggs Cruz (Rappler)

“Jover painstakingly plots the life of a woman who has been wasted to routine. As portrayed by Velez, Blondie seems to be a woman who has seen better years. She desperately clings on remnants of her fleeting youth, while also attempting to raise a family that is teetering on dysfunction.” (Read full review)

3.5         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Wala naman akong kaso sa naratibo maliban na lang nang magpakita na ng pahapyaw na magic realism bilang tool na susundot sa konsensya ng bida. Medyo odd din ang mga choices kung paano ito inilatag at hindi nakatulong para sa akin ang last frame upang maisalba ang mga bagay na nagustuhan ko.” (Read full review)

2.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“Jover paints out a very detailed portrait of this character, keeping the metaphysical elements and the politics just dancing in the background. And the character work is solid enough, and Vivian Velez is always a force to reckon with. But the film feels too tentative about its own themes to leave much of an impression.” (Read full review)

2.5         Lyndon Maburaot (Table Stretcher)

“The film’s shrewd dedication to follow-up on Blondie’s tracks while raising money for her husband’s medical expenses at the expense of other aspects of her life was not only melodramatic (for a character study) but also misguided. Jover seemed indecisive of what he wanted to convey here that the film ended up bland and generic, a downgrade from his promise in Bakal Boys.” (Read full review)

2.0         Macky Macarayan (Death of Traditional Cinema)

Bendor has a lot of potential to become a compelling sociorealist drama that will actually make us realize something magnanimous about our society; instead it has chosen the path to center on one woman’s futile resistance to her sad reality, and while there’s nothing really wrong about it, the film therefore has veered away from the juxtaposition of a Quiapo vendor, an abortionist, and a mother, the three main human representations of the film, of which Blondie is every single one.” (Read full review)

2.0         Mario Bautista (Showbiz Portal)

“Honestly, a movie that requires explanation from its maker for a viewer to fully understand it is quite an atrocity. Movies should be able to stand by themselves as not all viewers have access to a director’s explanations in a Q&A.” (Read full review)