KYLINE Alcantara gives a very credible and quite poignant performance in the lead role of Ikay, the oppressed girl bullied by the mean girls in their school for her skin ailment called vitiligo that discolored huge portions of her face and body. What is nice about Kyline is she knows how to tone down her kind of emoting in the movie’s dramatic highlights, particularly in her scenes with Snooky Serna as her former beauty queen mom to whom she feels inferior.
The film’s premiere night at Trinoma was a jampacked affair and full of screaming Kyline fans who were rooting for her teamup with both Migo Adecer as her best friend who doesn’t mind if she is called “batik batik” or spotty, and with Manolo Pedrosa as the campus heartthrob who is attracted to her when she is transformed to a normal pretty teenager with the help of the magical “Black Lipstick”, but who gets turned off when she returns to her true natural self.
The basic material about an ugly girl who gets beautiful through some fantastic element is attributed to the Seiko Films 1986 hit, “Blusang Itim”, which starred Snooky Serna as the ugly duckling that transforms into a beautiful swan. It was later remade as a TV series starring Kylie Padilla.
But the story really harks back to the original “Cofradia” starring Gloria Romero in the 1950s about a black-skinned girl who becomes a fair mestiza with the help of a magic candle. This was later remade in the 1970s as the launching flick of Gina Alajar as a teenage star.
“Black Lipstick” is now updated and gets modernized, given a totally new dressing to make it more appealing to millennial viewers. Young people today who are tech savvy are obviously its target market with the introduction of social media and its unwieldy effects on some gullible minds today. A subplot shows the worst consequence that can happen when a bullied girl resorts to committing suicide, ala-”13 Reasons Why” and “John Denver Trending”.
Kyline gets a lot of congratulatory remarks after the screening and she’s happy that the film’s significant message is not lost on the audience. “Ang gusto talagang ipahatid ng movie is the truth that you should not be easily swayed by the opinions of other people about yourself,” she says. “In the end, my character, Ikay, realized that she doesn’t really need the help of a Black Lipstick for her to be happy. She should just be content to accept and embrace all her imperfections.”
Kyline is ably supported by Migo and Manolo as her leading men. Both young actors have a winning and dynamic presence on the big screen and we have no doubt that given the right push and the adequate projects, they can achieve full stardom in their own right.
Kate Valdez also gives excellent support as the Queen Bee in the campus who becomes Kyline’s unexpected friend who defends her from the mean girls led by Cheska Salcedo as the repulsive Chelsea. Snooky likewise manages to stand out in her scenes as Kyline’s protective but free spirited mom.