Before watching UFC 162 – that fateful event when Anderson Silva lost his championship to Chris Weidman – I watched Four Sisters and a Wedding with my wife. At first, I tried to get out of it, because I didn’t think I would enjoy it. But I was wrong and happy to be so.
Here are some thoughts about it.
1. Filipinos are experts of laughing and crying at the same time.
One of the keys to successful comedy and drama is making sure the viewers can relate to the themes and emotions portrayed. And this movie does that right from the beginning. It’s got it’s finger on the Filipino pulse and never lets go, featuring familiar themes like the extremely meddlesome way Filipino families love, the household help who become part of the family, the cat fighting, the Filipino man who loves a woman who doesn’t love him back, the realities of family members working abroad, etc. The movie moves us because it is us.
2. Family isn’t perfect, but it’s family.
The movie shows how every family has things you can be proud of and things you want to distance yourself from. Whether it’s Carmi Martin’s hilariously over the top character or the embarrassments caused by one’s own siblings, there are so many cringe-worthy moments that take us back to our own families. Our parents might drive us crazy and our siblings get us wrong all the time (or is that vice-versa?), but nothing beats family.
3. Communication is key.
One thing I liked was that it wasn’t a sobbing movie from start to end. In fact the first crying scene didn’t start till past the halfway point. (But when once the crying scenes started, it didn’t stop.)
In the most emotional scene of the movie, the siblings and mother finally air out grievances and hurts that were brewing, for some cases most of their lives. It was great that they were finally able to overcome their misunderstandings, but I felt sad for all the lost time, simply because they never talked. What was even sadder was knowing that millions of people live with hurt, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and “cold wars” because they simply never sat down and talked it out.
So if you’re in a moment like that, watch the movie for inspiration. Then play John Mayer’s song. Then go talk to whoever you need to talk to.
4. I hate favoritism.
One of the very Filipino themes this movie showed is favoritism. And it showed the damages it causes. The un-favorites obviously feel rejected, passed over, generally know they’re second-class in their own homes. But the favorite also carries a heavy weight because of the pressure to perform according to the projections of the parent. Even worse, this obvious favoritism would drive a wedge between the siblings because they became competitors for their parent’s love.
The movie acknowledges the damage that favoritism causes, but seems to take the common position that says, “It’s okay to have favorites as long as you provide for everyone’s physical and material needs.” I don’t hold that against the movie, since it’s a movie after all, not a theological treatise.
But I will say that that mindset is just wrong. I hate favoritism. It messes with everyone involved. It turns families from shelters to battle royales. Often, it’s caused by selfishness on the part of the parents who project their desires and preferences onto their children. The Bible never expressly condemns it, but it does show repeatedly the damage caused by favoritism. Bottomline: DON’T. And if you have, REPENT and STOP. And if you are in an environment like that, FORGIVE, and learn from the lesson so you don’t do it.
Over all, it was an enjoyable movie! One that I recommend for older Filipinos. There are some ideas too mature for children, but otherwise, a fun, Filipino family movie.