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Poorly Executed but Socially Relevant

Author: raymund salao from Philippines
3 June 2010

20 minutes into the movie I was already loving it for the social relevance and the questions it poses. The cinematography was topnotch, with shots that are artfully done and makes creative use of the visual impact of the slums. Kudos also to the music which perfectly captures the mood of the story all throughout the movie. Halfway into the movie, I was actually impressed about the questions that it poses and the reality it exposes. The realities that the typical everyman Filipino (usually living within the poverty line) usually does not immediately give much of a damn who becomes president, because what only matters is the interest of his family. It's a bitter reality, but genuine nationalism is really quite rare, and usually it is the law of "every man/woman for her/himself (or his/her family)" that prevails. I love the exchange between the character of Noy (Coco Martin) and his editor (Baron Geisler) and how he attempts to enlighten Noy's uneducated views on society and politics, but eventually is greeted by stubbornness. I love that the main character is one who is sort of a jerk and an annoying idiot, but one that mirrors many of us, and that we expect his character to eventually have a point of enlightenment in the movie. I also love the metaphorical reflection of Noy's family to what is going on in the Philippines (and in many of Filipino families struggling to survive poverty), I also found depressingly fascinating the bleakness of the setting of Noy's home, a slum area in Metro Manila which is now seemingly a permanently flooded area, as an effect of the Typhoon Ondoy flood calamity that struck in 2009. Halfway through the movie, there were some minor awkwardly edited sequences, but it never did demoralize the movie...yet.

The second half of the film, on the other hand, was just a mess. After setting up some interesting points and questions, up from there, the movie looked like it went to various directions at a horrible pace. Many of the questions opened by the first half felt unanswered without any decent closure. It was not at an intentional manner but one that reveals the clumsiness of the scriptwriting and the direction. There is a scene where a child does a sort of "history background monologue" which would have been a really nice touch to the movie, but its editorial location in the movie felt misplaced.

The editing along with the direction was a disaster. There is no fluidity in the progression of the movie. One example that stands out is the gad-awful love story in the movie. Why is there even a love story subplot in here that is needlessly spotlighted? That was the first major fail-bomb that crippled the movie. The director obviously does not know how to shoot a love story because what I saw in there was a mixture of corny dialogue, corny acting, and an overall corny execution as to how the scenes should work out. I felt like I was watching a parody of an over-sentimental romance telenovela. The movie started to stink like manure when all of a sudden a torrid love scene occurred in the middle of this film which, by the way, should be a socio-political drama.

The film did not succeed on giving ample background on the other details of the movie. There wasn't much explanation why the area where Noy lives in is in a flooded state. Sure, we are aware of this right now, but audiences of this movie who are from other places outside manila or from another country or is watching this movie 15 years from now might be rendered clueless as to this background detail. Giving your audience background information is important in filming a movie like this which attempts to define the current reality situation. It was also not clear as to how Noy got into pretending as a media man. It felt like it relied on an audience who has already read the synopsis or seen the trailer. An audience who has not read or seen the trailer may not have a full understanding of what is going on in this movie.

In the first half I could understand the relevance as to why this was shot side-by-side the Noynoy Aquino campaign for presidency, but as the film went on, that link got lost, and the movie began to lose its consistency in effect.

The real meat of the story really lies on the plight of Noy's family struggling to rise from poverty, and the problems and miseries that haunt them. What is being shown in this movie does happen in real life. But the problem is that the film was not subtle in depicting it. During the lowest, most depressing part of the movie (when Noy and his brother argue over something), the main characters are suddenly being bombarded with problems that seem to have ridiculously popped up out of nowhere at the same time with a lack of basis to support the problem's existence. It felt like it diverted from making an honest depiction of harsh realities and exposed itself as an obvious attempt to make its audience cry.

But sure, there were moments that did manage to make my eyes watery. Because even though the execution of the story was bad, this was still a story of the Filipino people. And apart from other movies that pretend to be nationalistic or relevant, I could tell that this one had some sincerity in it. As a critic I should point out the movie's flaws, but I'm sure that other people will love this movie despite its technical flaws. To the naive, this serves as an eye opener to the bleak shadows of society, and this also serves as a prayer that hopes that a new administration will solve these bleak aspects of society.

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No Wonder It Did Not Make The Oscar's Short List Of Nominees

Author: Desertman84 from United States
7 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Filipino socio-political film "Noy" started with lots of promise.This independent movie starring Coco Martin that tells a story about a poor family breadwinner named Noy,who fakes his credential in order to find a job as a journalist and was assigned to cover candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III during the presidential elections in the Philippines.

Noy could have been provided viewers with many interesting themes such as the socio-economic conditions in the Philippines such as poverty, its political situations and the possible difference then President- elect of the Philippines Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III would make compared to past Philippine presidents in terms of addressing the problems that the third-world country has been facing throughout the years particularly poverty.This film that also stars Erich Gonzales,Cherry Pie Picache,Joem Bascon,Cheska Billiones,Vice Ganda and Baron Geisler could have become one of the best Filipino films ever made has the screenwriters provided a focused parallel story about the family breadwinner Noy and President Noynoy. It could have been a compelling film that would give viewers a view of the Philippines socio-economic conditions and political system.Unfortunately,that was not the case.

The screenwriters - Rondel Lindayag,Coco Martin,Francis Xavier Pasion and Shugo Praicoare - are to blame here first of all considering that the film lacked focus and direction in terms of what the film would be all about.Presenting a good parallel story of the journey of President Noynoy Aquino from being a presidential candidate to becoming the President of the Philippines who promises to make life better for the Filipinos and what Noy could have possibly learned from him especially when it comes to poverty or whether Aquino is capable to his making changes would have been a good idea.Instead,we are presented a movie that was scattered all over the place especially with two awkward different plots of both Noynoy and Noy respectively.

Here are the reasons why.First,we are treated more about Noynoy as the person and the celebrity.Viewers get to learn more about the prominent family that he came from like being the son of the late Philippine President Corazon "Cory" Aquino and the late Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.Also,it was more about his personality and the number of celebrities supporting him. Secondly, we are treated more about Noy's socio-economic conditions belonging to a poor family and how his family suffers from it.Instead of focusing on why many Filipinos have remained poor all throughout the year or how poverty has affected Noy in terms of opportunities in life and how he contributes to society, we are presented on Noy's life like his struggles at work being a fake journalist and how he remains optimistic in life in spite of it.

What's even more awkward is the fact that the love story between Noy and Divine was included in the screenplay.Honestly,it practically has very little bearing to the movie's themes at all.I just felt that the insertion of this love plot was a waste of running time as we only see two people who have no reason to be together just cry over their unfortunate situation of their affair with Noy being unable to provide and commit to the relationship and Divine being committed and engaged to get married to someone else.Even their love scene between the two when Divine intends to end to relationship and is about to leave Noy to marry his boyfriend becomes more awkward for does not contribute anything to the themes (or multiple themes unfortunately) the story is trying to present.The Noy-Divine romance plot just made this a typical Filipino romantic film for awhile and somehow made we forgot that this is an independent film.This was basically for the purpose of melodrama and to please those Filipino viewers who love melodramatic features.Nothing more. And independent films need no melodrama.More so a socio-political film like this.

The conclusion was also a mess.We get to see Noy get killed after two people robbed his place.Instead of seeing a transformation in his character in observing Noynoy that would have been observed throughout the film,a peculiar narrative from Coco Martin was inserted about the similarities and differences about his life and President Aquino's life at end.This just felt out of place after the direction of their stories was different from the beginning of the film. In the end,President Aquino just basically became a trademark for the film and its themes about politics and poverty were just used for it to get its classification as an independent film. No wonder it did not make the short list of nominees as the Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film in the Academy Awards back in 2011.

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Noy is a lost soul tested and shattered by difficulties looking for, if not his, his family's redemption.

Author: Glory May T. Asahan from Cavite, Philippines
2 October 2010

Not only flooded homes but also faith submerged in trials projects Noy Agapito as the face of every Filipino tested by life's challenges. Noy may be pertaining to two different persons bearing the same name with entirely different destinies, but it mainly revolves on the Noy we Filipinos can relate to.

A brutally honest and sharply written screenplay by Shugo Praico reflects the depressing and faith-shaking scenario of the Philippines today. The film focuses on the street smart persona of Noy Agapito who is determined to do everything he can for his family. The straight-from-the-shoulder opening narration from the lead character himself hints how tough the whole picture would be. Sharp-worded dialogues, demoralizing incidents and wretched fate pencil in the harsh reality of life.

Noy is a lost soul tested and shattered by difficulties looking for, if not his, his family's redemption. Despite all the bitter actuality we all face, this film makes me realize that when things get really unpleasant and difficult to handle, when nothing seems right and everything goes wrong, your family would always be there to run to.

A story as big as life itself put into writing, Dondon Santos's brilliant direction, a gripping cinematography and well-acted roles made this a glorious feat. Moreover, Rodel Nacianceno's documentary clips woven together with the story of a lifetime contributed to this film's triumph.

Saying that Coco Martin did a pretty good job is an understatement. His performance captivated my heart and soul. All the rest of the cast were very convincing. Cherry Pie Picache once again showcased her acting prowess as she brought to life an illiterate yet loving mother. In addition, the notable performance of Joem Bascon as an insecure and handicapped brother is also something to celebrate. Even the very short appearance of father and son Pen and Ping Medina did make the film better. However, the love story between our main character and his girlfriend, Divine, appeared to be somehow unnecessary. Still, it didn't ruin the whole picture.

Noy is not only about a lost man who found someone that could possibly uplift his country's situation. It's not merely about hope and success. It also voices out that we all have a responsibility not only towards ourselves and our family, but also for all the people around us. This is the Philippines's official entry to Academy Awards 2011 and whether it wins or not, I must say that this film is a victory for all of us Filipinos.

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Effective Acting and Message Lifts This Movie Up

Author: 3xHCCH from Quezon City, Philippines
4 June 2010

"Noy" is a movie that makes us think about the social reality in which we live in here in the Philippines. We follow the lead a character Noy who lives in a flooded slum area with his family, composed of an illiterate mother, an invalid elder brother and a hapless younger sister. He fakes his college credentials to get a job as a TV journalist. His initial attitude towards his job is one of shallow pragmatism. His assignment was to follow presidential aspirant Noynoy Aquino around during his campaign, yet Noy only thought of how this reporter gig can help him and his family out of poverty.

We follow the arc of the story as Noy gets to know Noynoy more and eventually becomes more cognizant of what real journalists do. However with Noy's self-realization comes overwhelmingly complicating realities (and overly dramatic plot twists) involving the members of his family, which eventually catch up with Noy himself.

Coco Martin really shines in the title role of Noy. He was a cocky jerk yet you also knew he had a heart somewhere in there. The scene where Noy could not do anything but helplessly weep and silently gnash his teeth on the stairs outside his house as his cup of suffering literally overflows was an intense tour-de-force acting showcase for this Prince of Philippine Independent Cinema.

Cherrie Pie Picache, Joem Bascon and Cheska Billones had very realistic supporting performances as Noy's unfortunate family . Noy's love interest Divine was played with surprising maturity by upcoming young actress Erich Gonzales. But I felt this love story angle (and love scene) was largely awkward and even unnecessary (as it was largely ignored in the end).

I liked the movie as a whole. I liked the very first line where Noy lays down the premise of the film, that everything will be real, except himself. The scene between Noy and his editor (Baron Geisler) where they discuss what journalists are supposed to do was very well-written, among others. The docu-drama gimmick worked very well, as the scenes interposing the Noynoy campaign with Noy's personal travails were very realistic and quite well-edited. The generous cooperation of Mr. Noynoy Aquino to this film in the midst of the busy campaign was really commendable. In the end, this rather depressing movie still manages to convince us that hope will still spring eternal.

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