In contrast to the dark-themed movies revolving around the
decomposition of the mores of man and the disintegration of Filipino families,
the Jubilee Evangelical Church and Jubilee Youth for Christ venture into film
to give us a family drama that sees life through rose-tinted glasses.
Directed by Paul Soriano, A Journey Home has its story grounded on
reality with its ideals soaring to high grounds. With central themes of
forgiveness and solidarity of the family, the film is optimistic about man's
ability to make the right choices and change his life for the better.
The death of a loved one becomes the catalyst to reunite
Dante (Soliman Cruz) with his son Raffy (Joem Bascon) and daughter Kristine
(Athena Tibi). Dante sees his family for the first time in 20 years after
leaving them for another woman. Raffy, still scarred by the past, does not want
to be associated with his father despite the efforts of his wife Gayle (Toni
Gonzaga) to bring them closer. Meanwhile, Kristine is more accommodating to her
dad's attempts to rebuild their broken relationship.
A sudden twist of fate brings Dante at the doorstep of Raffy
and Gayle's home. This might be God's answer to Dante's prayers for a second
chance. Gayle helps Dante to get on the good side of Raffy, but the latter has
completely shut his father out of his life. Dante soon develops a bond with his
grandchildren Jake (John Manalo) and Tinka (Cha-Cha Canete). However, the
imminent collapse of Raffy's business results to his emotional meltdown that
strains his family gravely.
A Journey Home carries a message of hope. It upholds
moral values and promotes the strengthening of family ties. More importantly,
it shows us that forgiveness works both ways. As we forgive others, we do not
only help them free their conscience from emotional burden, we also help
ourselves unload unnecessary baggage that subconsciously affects our lives.
Many films will challenge its simplistic perspective towards filial
relationships and personal values. But for those who miss an old-fashioned
family drama in the tradition of Tanging Yaman, the morality check that
the film provides may prove to be enough.
does a decent job in portraying the troubled family. Soliman Cruz lends
enough humanity to his repentant character. He tries to pull off a few
jokes for comic relief, but oftentimes miss the mark. Joem Bascon's
performance as the angst-ridden son is largely overdone during the big
moments. His acting works better during the quiet scenes where we see
him slowly letting go off his guard but his inability to forgive gets
in the way. Meanwhile, Toni Gonzaga shows off her versatility. Her forte
may be hosting and doing comedies, but she can also do drama. She is
convincing as the good-hearted wife who has nothing but love for her
husband and family.
Despite the story's richness in moral values, A Journey
Home feels largely flat. Its primary shortcoming is the overused story. Its
adherence to clichéd plot devices brings us to a familiar melodramatic
territory where we know exactly what will happen next and how everything will
eventually be resolved. Due to the film's predictability, we couldn't harness
enough empathy for the characters' conflicts.
The film is not bad per se. It is just ordinary. It exudes
the same vibe as Lenten episodes of Pinoy TV shows, which are generally well
A Journey Home
will be screened on October 10
at the Alabang New Life Christian Center (2 Don Manolo Blvd, Alabang Hills Village, Muntinlupa City). It will also have a 7 p.m. screening at SM Megamall on October 17
For inquiries regarding screenings, call Cherie Ong (Tel. No. 806-7172) or Andra Lee (Tel. No. 718-4460).
CLICK HERE to view photos during the premiere night of the film.