By By Pablo A. Tariman
Anatomy of a marriage according to Michael V.
posted 6-Aug-2019  ·  
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Michael V with co-stars in a scene from "Family History."

 Truth to tell, one did not expect much from Michael V.’s latest movie output. One initially dismissed it as probably another improvised episode from his hit TV sitcom, Pepito Manaloto.

But close to its first 20 minutes, the storytelling takes a curious turn and at once you see a rarely discussed anatomy of a marriage from the point of view of the funnyman.

In the beginning, it did look like another scene from Pepito Manaloto but as the story zeroes in on every member of the family in their respective work-a-day routine, you see a hidden crack in the profile of a supposedly happy marriage.

Michael V. as the hard-working patriarch in his mid-40s is put in a situation where he can confront the truth or look away and pretend it didn’t happen.

It is here that Michael V.’s talent as screen writer comes into full flowering as he paints a many-sided picture of a beleaguered husband haunted by nightmares of an unhappy wife.

We are able to see him as a dedicated working man, a thoughtful husband and a loving father.

But as the storytelling peaks, the writer allows as to see moments of truth he overlooks, busy as he is with earning a living.

His wife (Dawn Zulueta) dutifully attends to him in bed asking how his day was and then in another frame, she sees a partner off to slumber land.

This scene must have been going on for sometime and what can the poor wife do?

Michael V. knows his characters inside and out and makes an interesting way to present their moments of vulnerability. This is another tale of a husband focused on his work at the expense of his wife. But the most endearing thing about this movie is that serious concerns are taken up with a sense of humor as contagious as the characters in Pepito Manaloto.

As actor, the comedian-writer is probably playing himself with a lot of variations that will make his real life unrecognizable. His funny antics remain but the good thing is he is able to pose serious issues without being melodramatic. While he remains funny in every frame of the movie, he is able to carve another portrait of melancholy of a husband in distress. I cannot think of other actor-comedians who can pull this off with aplomb.

As director, Michael V. is pretty much in control. His storytelling is straight to the point and indeed it is an advantage that he wrote the screenplay himself. He even penned the theme song which, like it or not, blended quite poignantly in the story.

Of course, the other members of the cast did just as well.

Ina Feleo is so natural as the concerned neighbor Meryl Streep comes to mind in all her frames.

But the most telling one is the closet-gay played by Nonie Buencamino with such flourish he made the part his own with hardly any struggle.

Zulueta as the wife is able to keep a face of contentment while going through her own moments of indiscretions. Of course, she is not happy seeing herself drawn to another partner. Her portrayal of the unhappy wife is for the most part genuinely touching.

But the writer-director made a profound way to gently lead the audience into accepting what makes seemingly happy marriages disintegrate and telling it with humor.

The premiere night audiences were rollicking on the floor in the scene where a distraught husband asks his poor wife how many times they did their intimate moments and where. She comes up with a figure that had everyone breaking into guffaws in the movie house.

All told, Family Affair tackles a serious issue in a funny way.

Just when you didn’t expect it, the movie is well-written, well-acted and yes, the director did his homework.

Graded B by the Cinemas Evaluation Board, Family Affair also stars Miguel Tanfelix, Bianca Umali, Paolo Contis, Kakai Bautista, Mikoy Morales, Nikki Co, Jemwell Ventenilla, Vince Gamad, and John Estrada with special cameo appearances of Dingdong Dantes and Eugene Domingo.

It is now showing in cinemas.

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