The Annulment (2019), directed by Mac Alejandre and starring Lovi Poe and Joem Bascon, was a drama film about the fallout of a married couple, Gari (Poe) and Sherwin (Marudo). This film gave good commentaries about factors one should consider for marriage.
For starters, Gari and Sherwin’s relationship started with both of them having strikingly different expectations. On Gari’s part, she did not see Sherwin as someone she would marry, at least at the start. Meanwhile, Sherwin already felt sure that he wanted to marry Gari. However, his very first worry was the difference in their social status. And this is one theme that was consistently explored throughout the film – the effect of each party’s financial stability and security before and during the marriage. Gari came from an upper-middle-class family but adopted a financially independent character, whereas Sherwin was from a simple, working-class background.
Throughout their relationship, it was visible how this rift between their social statuses affected their dynamics as a couple. Gari only wanted to help her husband secure a job through her connection to a company. However, knowing he got a chance at an interview through his wife’s recommendation to a friend only bruised Sherwin’s ego, which led the latter to attend a friend’s birthday party where he met Samantha (Sarrosa).
It was commendable how he refused Samantha’s advances on him at first. However, it was frustrating to watch him not stay away from Samantha, knowing she had questionable motives after him. Although he explicitly told her he could only offer friendship, he could have avoided meeting her alone and answering her calls in secret which only raised suspicion from Gari’s friends. Although Gari meant supportive intentions for recommending her husband to her friend, it was apparent the couple lacked candid communication, especially around each other’s insecurities and dispositions.
After Gari caught Sherwin and Samantha kissing – in their own living room, at that – Sherwin could have communicated with Gari level-headedly without being manipulative by appealing to her emotions. It was painful to watch him not give Gari space, more so, to sexually assault her. From there, their relationship only went downhill. Sherwin kept projecting his insecurities – financially and emotionally – towards Gari while Gari did not bother to communicate her pain and anger.
On the topic of forgiveness and letting go, it was sensitively inspirational how Gari’s mother demonstrated firsthand how she forgave his husband. However, it would have been better if they acknowledged the grief that came with forgiveness – that before one can wholeheartedly forgive, one has to acknowledge the pain and all other ugly emotions that came with whatever happened that led to the asking and giving of forgiveness.
All in all, this film was emotionally compelling, never mind the not-so-helpful videography, as some angles and shots were not so flawlessly executed, and thus did not add value to the film. Poe’s acting was delightful, especially during the scenes where her friend showed her Sherwin and Samantha’s photo, where she caught Sherwin and Samantha kissing, and during the annulment hearing.
Bascon also delivered well. His brusque persona fit the troubled character of Sherwin. The subtle symbolism around Sherwin’s arc around getting financially capable was also nice – when the camera showed his watch and vehicle at the end. And one thing this film showed was that not everyone could seamlessly pull off sexy characters. Sarrosa was commendable for daring to play as bold a character as Samantha, but there was still a slight awkwardness during her sexy scenes.
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