Bites off more than it can chew

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By Nickky F.P. de Guzman, Reporter

Movie Review
Rainbow’s Sunset
Directed by Joel Lamangan

JOEL LAMANGAN’s Rainbow’s Sunset is a convoluted story of a rich troubled clan, whose main conflict revolves around the family members’ having to deal with grandfather Ramon (played by Eddie Garcia), who comes out as gay and wants to live with his best friend and lover Fredo (Tony Mabesa) who is dying from cancer. But Ramon’s outing himself at the age of 84 (“It’s already 2018!”) should be the least of this family’s — and the audience’s — concerns because Rainbow Sunset doesn’t only feature a conflicted clan, but its storyline is problematic too.

Riddled with loopholes and questionable characters, Rainbow’s Sunset has to wrap everything up hastily towards the end because: A.) it is almost two hours in and the story needs to end; and, B.) it needs to have a “happily ever after” conclusion because it’s Christmas and nobody wants a sad ending.

So Ramon outs himself at 84. His wife Sylvia (Gloria Romero) is cool with it because she’s known since they were starting their family. But their three children are shocked. Imagine what others would think, they say.

Each of Ramon and Sylvia’s children have their own family, and every — as in every — character, from the lolo to the apo, has his or her own issues. Now, imagine having to watch a two-hour movie trying to grasp everyone’s problems, which range from the petty and pitiful, to the eye-rolling and cringe-y.

Let’s start with Ramon’s only son Emman (Tirso Cruz III) who is a bigoted, homophobic macho man. He has a lesbian daughter whom he cannot accept, saying “it’s only a phase.” He works in an office where he has an intern, Cathy (Ali Forbes), whose sole purpose in the story is to flirt with him. She is part of the ensemble because the story needs another layer of family conflict: a sex video of her and Ramon appears. Her role ends the moment Ramon pays her to shut up. This is one of the many problems of the film: It incorporates gender and cultural problems and power struggles that need further and deeper discussion but the movie has no time to tackle these issues. Instead, the movie only has band-aid solutions because the goal is to wrap up the little scenarios immediately so the narrative could move towards the happy ending.

The youngest of the three children is Marife (Sunshine Dizon), a feminist who works at Gabriela, the NGO that advocates for women’s welfare and rights. I am so sad that the film had to drag Gabriela’s name into all this because Marife is never portrayed as militant and strong, but rather the opposite. Marife is in her 40s and for her conflict, screenwriter Eric Ramos decided that she should have a young lover, played by Albie Casiño. Their love story is never fully discussed, and, just like the Cathy-sex-video dilemma, Mr. Casiño’s character is conveniently dropped because the story needs to focus on the other problems.

This is the film’s problem. It is an ambitious movie, but unfortunately it isn’t smartly played out and the resolutions are haphazardly done and superficial. The script is also corny and cringe-worthy, and uses classic Tagalog words people don’t usually say in everyday conversations.

The middle child, George (Aiko Melendez) is the most outraged of her dad’s coming out because it may affect her political career as she happens to be the town’s mayor. She doesn’t want her father to be seen with Fredo, who happens to be her godfather. George works like the family’s PR manager and her main goal is to portray her family as perfect. She has a corrupt husband who is plotting in secret but, as has already been established, this little conflict is never further discussed and fully resolved. What could that secret plan have been? Nobody knows.

Rainbow’s Sunset jumps from one conflict to another hoping that the audience wouldn’t notice the gaps — the audacity to think that we wouldn’t notice! In the end, the clan — somehow — “resolves” all their issues and all’s well that ends well.

As for the Ramon-Fredo love story — well, it was just an accessory to the convoluted clichés and traditional tropes that was Rainbow’s Sunset.

MTRCB Rating: PG