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CINEMALAYA 2019 | MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Edward’ (2019)

The public hospital takes centerstage in this bittersweet drama. Here’s my review of Thop Nazareno’s ‘Edward’

The film is about Edward, a young boy who’s suddenly burdened with the responsibility of taking care of his sick father. In their stay in the hospital, he finds new friends, explores new territory, falls in love, and discovers what life is really all about.

The film lets us explore into the world of a public hospital, and how inefficient the whole system is. For instance, there’s a strict shower time from 4 to 6 in the morning, which Edward frequently misses. Nurses often forget when they have to give patients their medicines, and patients really have no choice but to clean up after themselves. There’s also an illegal sale of fresh corpses from the morgue every night to clients who have certain, specific, kind of needs.

These are certainly not ideal living conditions, but for patients of a public hospital, this seems to be the norm. The film is an eye-opening look into the state of our public healthcare system, how bad it has already gotten and how we aren’t really doing anything about it. The setting provides a lot of opportunities to tell different kinds of stories, and the film doesn’t let any of these go to waste.

Compared to what director Thop Nazareno has given us with his previous Cinemalaya entry, Kiko Boksingero, here in Edward, he gives us a more bittersweet approach to things. It’s not as light as Kiko, but it certainly has its own charm which makes it easy to watch. He also brought out the best in his young actors, especially Edward.

Louise Abuel is charming as the titular Edward, and while he isn’t the best example for teens of his age, there’s still so much of him the audience can relate to. Ella Cruz kind of overdoes her street-smart gal approach, but she’s balanced out by Abuel in their scenes together. Dido Dela Paz is great, no doubt about that.

The film brings out the best of what it has, and it highlights the story more than anything else. The ending, to me, was perfect. It mirrors the struggles of people who are dependent on public healthcare facilities, and how they are let down by them everytime. This film gets into a pretty dark territory by the third act, and I commend that it wasn’t scared to do so. Life isn’t perfect, but Edward always tries to find the silver lining in every situation, now matter how grim it is.

Edward shows us the beauty and the pain of youth. It shows us all the joys, wonders, and challenges that life throws at us as we grow older and face the future. It also sends a message to everyone, that this country’s public health situation sucks bigtime, and that we can’t just settle for the mediocrity of the healthcare that the government provides us. It’s a timely movie, one that’s heartwarming, and heartbreaking at the same time.

My Rating: 9/10

Here’s the full trailer for ‘Edward’:

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