Movie Review
Family of Two
(A Mother and Son’s Story)
Directed by Nuel C. Naval
MTRCB Rating: PG

AS AN HOMAGE to all mothers, Family of Two depicts a love between a clingy mother and her equally clingy son.

The film has a heartwarming premise — selfless woman Maricar (played by Sharon Cuneta) dedicates all her time to her devoted son Mateo (played by Alden Richards), whom she raised singlehandedly. However, this codependent set-up is not forever, as Mateo is presented with a chance to go abroad where his girlfriend is also working.

This is when he decides to sign his mother up for a dating site, so that she can find happiness outside of motherhood.

Both leads play their parts as expected, with cheesy and exaggerated exchanges of dialogue between them. Ms. Cuneta hits all the dramatic notes required of a seemingly cheerful, doting mother while Mr. Richards is his usual pretty boy self, either smiling with dimples or shedding some tears.

The role of Mateo’s girlfriend Zari, brought to life by Miles Ocampo, is not very memorable, in large part due to the lack of chemistry between the two actors. While she did win a Best Supporting Actress award for it, Ms. Ocampo’s charm has definitely shone through more in other projects.

It is the mother and son’s journey that is the focus, although it is depicted in a frustratingly formulaic way. Codependency is a situation where actions tend to speak louder than words, but this film really went the wordy, teary, drama-filled route to depict it.

Maricar packing her son’s lunches for him every morning and staying up to wait for him to come home at night were already poignant enough scenes. But no, there had to be cute, MMK-level banter the entire time, and overreactions where they endlessly cried to each other.

Time and time again Filipino family dramas have resorted to a saccharine approach that doubles down on the over-the-top tearjerker scenes set to an obnoxiously touching score. This film didn’t need all the crying. Since the conflict wasn’t too serious, it could have been a nice, natural slice-of-life story.

Family of Two’s most promising underused plot point comes near the end, where Maricar realizes she wants to go back to school to finish her college degree. A certain speech she makes related to that was probably the most beautiful moment in the entire film, and is not the typical, crying, cliche.

While it does earn plus points for advocating letting people past their prime pursue their education, it’s a damn shame that it only felt like a footnote in the story. Maricar deciding to go back to school with the support of her son would have made for a more memorable movie, without all the tearjerker shenanigans, and it would have been better material for the two leads to work with. — Brontë H. Lacsamana