Hari ng Tondo

HariVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.26 (23 ratings)

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Director: Carlos Siguion-Reyna

Writer: Bibeth Orteza

Cast: Robert Arevalo, Rez Cortez, Cris Villonco, Rafa Siguion-Reyna, Lorenz Martinez, Liza Lorena, Lui Manansala, Aiza Seguerra, Carlos Canlas, Mark Tayag, Ciara Sotto, Gian Magdangal, Eric Quizon, Ali Sotto, Audie Gemora, Hans Eckstein, Raul Montesa, Jelson Bay, Gino Ramirez, Menggie Cobarrubias

Synopsis: A grandfather on the brink of bankruptcy brings his grandchildren back to the community that made and shaped him, only to find out the place is no longer the same.

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 90 mins



5.0         Nood.ph

“Masaya, makabuluhan, at napapanahon, sinasalamin ng pelikulang ito ang buhay Pinoy, kaya makaka-relate ka sa mga scenes, depende sa estado mo sa buhay. Sa kabuuan, lalabas ka ng sinehan na inspired para simulang may baguhin sa sarili o may matutunang bago.” (Read full review)

4.0         Phillip Cu-Unjieng (Philippine Star)

“What’s truly engaging about the film is how we may start off with archetypes, but are constantly floored by how these characters develop — obviously a nod to the LGBT community, which results in an astute modernizing of these archetypes.” (Read full review)

4.0         Jonell Estillore (Film Police)

Hari ng Tondo‘s delivery as a piece of comedy and family drama sums it up as a piece full of heart, thanks to the outstanding performance of its cast and smoothly-paced story.” (Read full review)

3.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

Hari ng Tondo might feel a little corny. It might feel a little old-fashioned. It certainly feels dramatically miscalculated at points. But there is never any doubt of the film’s genuine heart. Through its sheer earnestness, the film can win you over.” (Read full review)

3.5         Katrina Stuart Santiago (Manila Times)

“We have a local audience that’s quick to judge films about the poor to be poverty porn, and films about the middle class to be shallow and superficial. That Hari ng Tondo does not cross this line between these two kinds of films, and instead stands quite steadily on that line—insisting that there is a story to be told right there—is its daring.” (Read full review)

3.5         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

Hari ng Tondo marks the return of Carlos Siguion-Reyna, whose prominent movies are notable for being affectingly contrived, and his confidence to push things over is still there, only now he’s unsympathetic and relaxed. It may not be an ideal comeback, but it’s delightfully enough.” (Read full review)

3.5         Renelson Morelos (Ramblings of a Film Urchin)

“The director’s treatment of the story may appear to be too simplistic and obvious at times (learning life’s lessons by being immersed in poverty, those metaphors, etc), but the film has this charming and light-hearted energy that one will eventually find oneself humming along its tunes.” (Read full review)

3.5         Jennifer Dugena (PEP)

“The film has its head in the clouds with cheesy lines and scenes that, with a little nudge, border on being musicals; but it remarkably also has its feet on the ground with in-your-face honesty and distinctly Pinoy humor that is cruel and tender all at the same time.” (Read full review)

3.5         Fred Hawson (Fred Said)

“This was a very entertaining film which at the same time tells us a lot about life in the urban slums.  The message at the end is loud and clear dedicated to people who had been successful enough to have moved out of Tondo to give back to it.” (Read full review)

3.5         Emil Hofileña (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

Hari ng Tondo is just plain fun. The thing that makes this movie so likable is the fact that the characters are so likable. It’s great that the movie spent a lot of time really letting us into the world of the characters, letting us understand the, letting us like them.” (Watch full review)

3.5         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“This is a crowd pleasing film whose cheesy approach will appeal aims to both serious critics and casual movie goers. The ensemble was commendable, and the songs here were really catchy. Dare I say, that by far, the local feel good film of the year.” (Read full review)

3.5         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“The film presents a cheerful place and people who are truly worthy of sympathy and support. So, despite its numerous flaws, the film is nothing short of a crowd-pleaser, and is simply great fun. (Just be prepared to have a song really stuck in your head afterwards.)” (Read full review)

3.0         Oggs Cruz (Twitch)

Hari ng Tondo works quite well as a crowd-pleaser. Its eccentric mix of toilet humor, popcorn musicality, familiar family drama, and skin-deep social commentary is actually enjoyable the very same way a lot of the better-made consumable fare available on television is enjoyable.” (Read full review)

3.0         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“It’s a film built for the popcorn stands with the engrained promise of a good time. While it may not please those looking for more substance in their cinema, it will satiate those who are willing, at least for time being, to put it aside.” (Read full review)

3.0         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

“Only Carlitos Siguion-Reyna can direct such a feel good movie that warms the heart of every middle class viewer and bury the guilt of the oligarchy.  Fifteen minutes into the film, viewers can safely assume that the story will end up optimistically but without really questioning the status quo.” (Read full review)

3.0         Ian Rosales Casocot (The Spy in the Sandwich)

“The usual comedic shenanigans and dramatic epiphanies unfurl like clockwork, which is not bad at all—but there is a sense of forcedness in the execution that leaves this film feel a tad empty.” (Read full review)

3.0         Macky Macarayan (PLM Film Society)

“Veering away from the visual and narrative cliches that have pervaded independent cinema’s depiction of Tondo these past couple of years (i.e. Tondo as dark, dank, decrepit, and beyond salvation), Hari ng Tondo balances its treatment of Tondo between nostalgia and optimism.” (Read full review)

3.0         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Parody kung parody na may kasama pang Greek chorus. Gusto ko ang pagka-game ng cast, ‘yong bilis ng mga eksena at ‘yong sobrang klaro ang vision ng gumawa.” (Read full review)

3.0         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

Hari ng Tondo is an entertaining film, but it’s too saccharine for my taste. There’s some potential in the last third, but the overall film is a film that didn’t make that much of an impression on me.” (Read full review)

3.0         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“It was also refreshing to see a film that was set in the slums that as not grim nor did it sensationalize what it was like living there.” (Read full review)

2.5         J. Neil Garcia

“Offhand, it seems appropriate to review Hari ng Tondo and Children’s Show together, seeing as how they’re both set in contemporary Tondo, and make a big to-do of the density–as well as the profundity–of this district’s well-known destitution and misery…

Of course, the commonality ends there. In a parody of the legendary local gangster’s epithet, Hari ng Tondo is a commercial and mainstream melodrama (with a bit of a musical thrown in for good measure), starring bankable and popular-enough actors, and purveying the platitude of a hopeful and humanistic message through the most improbable of silly plots. Namely: an aging and recently bankrupt multimillionaire seeks to regain his previous prowess by repatriating himself back to his childhood home, and in the process even manages to convince his two well-born, entirely gentrified, but visibly angsty grandchildren to join him in an extended ‘slumming’ expedition, which eventuates in warm feelings and epiphanies for everyone, including the ragtag but golden-hearted gang of residents of this especially immiserated corner of the jaggedly uneven city… Before i aggravate myself any further, i just have to remember that this is a ‘directors showcase’ film, after all (coming, no less, from the eminent Orteza-Siguion-Reyna franchise). As such it can’t really be expected to be as earnest as the ‘new breed’ films, cranked out by eager and up-and-coming filmmakers, who are typically more serious in their aesthetic dispositions (because they supposedly are, among other things, at once less tractable and more needful of quick acclaim)…”

2.0         Jason Jacobo (Young Critics Circle)

“In Hari ng Tondo, Carlitos Siguion Reyna proposes a notion of social reform: a naive inflection of the pedagogical immersion which fantasizes the turning of the bourgeois subject into a political animal attuned to the contradictions of nation formation. What could have been a comedy of Philippine manners is reduced to an apology of capitalist conscience, an argument that intensely misreads a fundament of the theology of liberation.” 

2.0         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

“It’s hard to sympathize with the characters when the script aims to please the crowd more than respect the multidimensionality of humans, treating almost everyone as a cartoon character – sketched very broadly and doing things out of the flimsiest  motivations.”

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