Friday, February 3, 2012
My Cactus Heart - A Surprisingly Good and Fun to Watch Film
I was with my 7-year-old niece this morning. We headed to SM for some errands. The week before, we were already planning to watch My Cactus Heart, but she was not that enthusiastic about it because Kim Chiu was not part of the cast.
Yep, like aunt like niece. She was a baby when Kim Chiu emerged as winner at PBB. My niece grew up watching her sole favorite young actress blossom from a very nervous performer to the confident and blooming actress that she is now.
She made sure that was awake during Fridays when My Binondo Girl was placed at a late timeslot. Now that the show has wrapped up, she no longer watches drama on TV, like the rest of the family. Oh well, I can go on and on with how my niece (even the youngest one) and the whole family are addicted to Kim, but we now have found a new addiction and he goes by the name of Xian Lim.
Before we could enter the mall, my niece asked me if Xian’s movie, My Cactus Heart, was still being shown. I said yes, but I told her that Xian was not playing the lead, so he’d probably be in few scenes only. Despite the warning, we went straight to the cinema where the film was being shown.
It was a Friday, a holiday here in Bulacan because this was Blas Ople’s birthday. It was surprising to see that even on its second week run, there were lots of people inside the cinema, both young and old. And yes, I think that most of them have gotten the Xian bug as well, because his name was all I could ever hear from the murmurs around us – Asan na si Xian? Ang tagal ni Xian. Si Xian, si Xian.
The opening of the film was an animation and unlike many Xian’s fans that were present at the time, my niece dreamily said while the animation was being shown –
Chiu na lang yung bida. Sana
If I can give her an award at that moment, she would receive the highest honor of being addicted to Kim.
So where was I? Oh yeah, this was supposed to be a movie review haha!
The story of the film was very simple that it could have been written by a 10-year-old kid. There was nothing new with the story. It has been used over and over again as main plot or as part of many stories’ subplots.
As simple as the story of My Cactus Heart seems to be, the film used a unique way of storytelling that will get you hooked and interested all throughout (even though Kim Chiu was not part of the casts).
And wow, the magic of Matteo and Maja Salvador on screen was unbelievable. Matteo did not shine in My Binondo Girl, but he was able to pull it off really well on his scenes with his real-life girlfriend.
There were many lines and moments in the story where you’d get a good laugh. The dialogues come out naturally.
I liked the performance of Gee Canlas, the one who played Maja’s BFF since high school. She was convincing. I was not that convinced though that the actor who played Maja’s brother was gay. He could have given more, but well, this might be his first acting job, so there’s a lot of room for improvement for him.
The story was going fine. It was supposed to give out a good revelation and drama when the child who played the young version of Matteo was seen and Pinky Amador’s character was revealed.
It was supposed to be Matteo’s acting highlight on the film. I was already preparing myself to cry. But no thanks to the dialogues that were given to Pinky and Ramon Christopher, the long dialogues that explained about what really happened to their characters, the moment was ruined. This was the part wherein even as an spectator, you’d wish that the actors would just shut up so that people would be able to focus to the hurt and betrayal that Matteo’s character was feeling.
Maja is a character actress. She is too good and the material was too light for her caliber. She did very well, but this is not her forte. There are actors and actresses who were naturally born to play kilig and pa-tweetums role to a tee. Yes, these include Kim Chiu and Sarah Geronimo, but these two young superstars are slowly coming out of their comfort zones, but they are still the best ones in the local industry today who can pull of a “tamang timpla” of kilig whoever they may be paired with.
Xian Lim, as we already have expected, had limited exposure in the film. But his scenes were remarkable. His eyes are very expressive. He suits the role of being a good-natured and romantic guy. I wonder how he’d be able to pull off a character that is dark and the complete opposite of Andy Wu. That would be a challenge and I really hope that he’d be given something that will allow us to see a different side of him.
Overall, the film was worth the money that we have paid for it. It was done in good taste, even though it was low-budgeted. The story was basic, plain and very simple, but the storytelling was a work of genius. The shots were not that great or compelling. Most of the shots actually look as if these were done by a film student, but the editing made up for all the weaknesses of its technicalities.
Based on this film, Star Cinema should really give in to the clamor for people to see more of Xian Lim. And if it is not too much to ask, please prioritize something with Kim Chiu in it.