Noy (Coco Martin) carries a heavy baggage on his back. His depressive brother Bong (Joem Bascon) is a paraplegic who wallows in self pity, occasionally hurting himself. His mother Elena (Cherry Pie Picache) maintains a wobbly online relationship with an African American who's in town for a visit - but she's repelled by his attention. And his younger sister Tata is constantly complaining of a blurred vision. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Divine (the endearing Erich Gonzales) is coming to terms with the fact that she is least of his priorities. She has accepted another suitor's proposal, and has to fly to Canada to join him. However, she pleads, "I'll stay if you ask me too." What's a guy to do?
When he finally gets his foot in the door, he becomes a traveling journalist whose beat is to follow presidentiable Noynoy Aquino's campaign trail. Though he works hard, his work appears soul-less, remarks his editor (Baron Geisler). Is his domestic baggage dragging him down? Or is he the underqualified journalist who has faked his resume?
There is no doubt about it. "Noy" is a well made film that brilliantly juxtaposes the homespun allegory of Noy (Coco Martin) with live footages from 20 of Aquino's campaign sorties nationwide. The symbolical narrative is meant to reflect the plight of modern day Filipinos in light of the growing dissension against poverty and moral apathy.
Director Dondon Santos coaxes great performances from his ensemble. Coco is obviously comfortable with his character's dilemma after having appeared in several Dante Mendoza films. It's no surprise that he comes up with a well fleshed characterization. Bascon is too one-note to involve us. Then there's the lovely Erich Gonzales whose character is tasked to, errr... cry! And cry she did! Despite her thinly written story, Gonzales comes up with a luminous performance that underlines the adage: "There are no small roles for great actors." In a representative scene where she bids Noy goodbye - and says, "Wag ka nang mag-sorry!" and "Manong, (the taxi driver), tara na ho." - she carries enough pathos to satisfy us of her discernment of loss, an emotional cataclysm. And boy! Can she literally cry buckets! Vice Ganda is surprisingly mediocre; his delivery is inconsistent and insincere. He was good in Lamasan's "In My Life" so we wonder what went wrong.
Despite the tragic thread, there is a hopeful tone as the film draws to a close. It brings back my pre-election concerns about Noynoy as the new President of the Philippines. I have no doubt in my mind of Aquino's sincerity and incorruptibility. He will not enrich himself the way GMA and his relatives have - and they're even quite arrogant about their blatant pilferage. Unfortunately, what do you say about a man who - at close to 50 years old - cannot build a house of his own without the help of a much younger sister (Kris Aquino - she did boast several times how she will finance his new house when President Cory passed away). We need to rebuild our nation. How can we entrust nation-building to a man who can't even build his own home? My friend would say, "Baka naman he is prudent." Baka nga! LOL. Well, Noynoy will be the new president - and I will respect and support him as my president - with bated breath!
"Noy" is a well made film, but we do have scruples about the pervasive use of poverty as a cinematic theme. Aren't we all tired of supposedly socially relevant films that conspicuously depict our nation as a land of squatters, where mosquito-infested houses rise on flooded out stilts? They would have people believe that this unidimensional theme is all that pervades our desperate society of prostitutes and callboys, alcoholics, thieves, perverts, fixers, and other aberrant lowlives! In this country, a socially relevant movie is equivalent with the exploitation of poverty. Talk about bankruptcy of ideas!