Saddled with a weepy soundtrack and capped with an ending that would shame even Douglas Sirk, this family melodrama from the amazingly prolific Filipino director Mario J. de los Reyes is the very definition of sentimental overload. It's also impossible to resist. In a sudden burst of hope that his newborn son will one day free his family from their impoverished life in a small Filipino town, hardworking Geraldo (Albert Martinez) names his second born son "Magnifico." The child, however, doesn't quite live up to his name, leaving his father and mother, Edna (Lorna Tolentino), to fear their son may not be the answer to their prayers after all. But while Magnifico probably won't win a scholarship to a school in Manila like his older brother, Miong (Danilo Barrios), he's clever, resourceful and attentive to his family's many needs. Geraldo's income isn't enough to cover expenses, so Edna, who already has a full-time job caring for Magnifico's handicapped younger sister, Helen (Isabella De Leon), takes in embroidery. Meanwhile, Magnifico's grandmother, Lola (Gloria Romero), helps out as best she can by offering massages and herbal remedies to her neighbors. After a serious fall sends Lola to the hospital, the family's troubles worsen. Not only is Lola no longer able to work, but the doctor diagnoses her with terminal cancer. Edna, hardened by poverty, worries about how they'll pay Lola's medical expenses while she's alive; Lola, meanwhile, knows exactly how much it costs to die: A casket and burial plot will run at least 30,000 pesos. Neither life nor death, it seems, is an option the family can afford. Miong, who's back home after losing his scholarship, takes a tip from his friend (Allyson Gonzales) who tells him their troubles will be over if he marries Isang Romy (Girlie Sevilla), the daughter of a wealthy woodcarver (Tonton Gutierrez). Magnifico, meanwhile, has an idea of his own: Using scrap wood from Mr. Romy, and a hammer and saw borrowed from his neighbors, Magnifico will build his grandmother a coffin. Morbid though it may sound, much of the story is told from the eye-level of a child for whom death has no real meaning and there's something almost refreshing about the frankness with which Magnifico and his grandmother discuss her impending demise. While de los Reyes ladles on the sentiment, he has a surprisingly light touch when it comes to his simple message: What comes around, goes around (particularly when it comes to good deeds) and even adults can use a little help now and then.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: NR
- Review: Saddled with a weepy soundtrack and capped with an ending that would shame even Douglas Sirk, this family melodrama from the amazingly prolific Filipino director Mario J. de los Reyes is the very definition of sentimental overload. It's also impossible to… (more)