Louise should have been a better choice

September 27, 2019
Ella Cruz and Louise Abuel

‘EDWARD’ is a powerful drama set inside an overcrowded public hospital and it’s our bet to win as best picture in the last Cinemalaya Filmfest. The young actor who played the title role, Louise Abuel, is also our bet to win the best actor award. But the jurors chose ‘John Denver Trending’ as best film while its title-roler won as best actor.

Truth to tell, the role of Edward is much more compelling and it has a greater arc. “Edward” is a poignant coming of age film that starts with the lead character as a carefree young teener who makes the hospital his own playground. In the course, of the movie, he goes through a series of life-changing experiences. He falls in love with a young patient, Ella Cruz, and gets to kiss a girl for the first time. He learns the ailing dad he is taking care of has terminal tuberculosis and doctors are just sending him home to wait for the grim reaper in their province.

Ella dies and he saves her body from perverts that rape cadavers, steals her remains, then gives her a decent burial in her favorite place on top of a hill. His final scene shows him finally breaking down and crying uncontrollably after all the tragedies that happened in his life. It was truly heartbreaking.

In contrast, the actor in “John Denver” only has to look distraught all throughout the movie because of the ostracism he’s getting as a result of being wrongly accused in social media, and he doesn’t get to display any other emotion.

We don’t mean to put down the “John Denver” actor but it’s really Louise (how we wish he would remove the E in his name as this makes it the name of a woman based on its French derivation, just like Justine, Noelle, Francoise, Danielle, etc) who has the better chance of making it big in showbiz.

He started as a child actor when he was 7 years old in ‘100 Days to Heaven’ and later gained fame as Pikoy in Coco Martin’s “Juan de la Cruz”. Now a binatilyo at 15 years old, he has grown taller and, at the “Edward” presscon held at Viva, it’s obvious he’s developing matinee idol good looks. He’s a Star Magic talent so we’re sure they’ll further nurture him to be a lead actor.

So how is it kissing Ella Cruz in “Edward”? “Yun po talaga ang first kiss ko,” says Louise. “Buti na lang sa Ate ko. Ilang na ilang at hiyang-hiya ako noong una. Hindi ko alam kung ano talaga naramdaman ko. Noong mag-cut ang direktor namin, nagtatago ako sa likod niya sa sobrang hiya. Noong premiere ng movie, kasama ko ang parents ko, hindi ko pinanood 'yung kissing scene, nakayuko lang ako. Itong ‘Edward’ ang first role kong teenager ako. Before kasi, puro bata lang ang role ko. Now, I feel more mature. Binata na ako. Siguro, puwede na kong mag-girlfriend. Joke!”

“Edward” is directed by Thop Nazareno, who made waves also in Cinemalaya in 2016 for his entry, “Kiko Boksingero”, another film about a young boy that won the best actor award for Noel Comia. “Edward” is also a searing expose on the deplorable conditions of our public healthcare system with its lamentable government hospitals. Now that Viva is giving “Edward” a wide theatrical release, don’t miss your chance to see this film on the big screen as it is definitely one of the year’s best so far.