‘UNSPOKEN Letters’ is a wholesome family drama from a new company, Utmost Creatives, that aims to launch the acting career of newbie Jhassy Busran, as directed by Gat Alaman who also co-wrote the script.
Jhassy is also a singer and she co-writes and sings the film’s theme song, “Hanggang Doon”. She’s very lucky that she is supported in the movie by very competent actors, led by Glydel Mercado and Simon Ibarra as her mom and dad, with Tonton Gutierrez, Gladys Reyes, Orlando Sol and Christine Samson as her older siblings.
In the story, their family is about to have a reunion for the wedding anniversary of their parents and the 70th birthday of their dad who they didn’t know is already having Alzheimer’s disease.
Tonton harbors grudges against their dad who was very harsh to him as he was growing up and who he accuses of abandoning their family.
Simon worked as an OFW in the Middle East and he didn’t confess to his kids the real reason why he was absent for quite a while.
Tonton also blames Jhassy for the untimely death of their mom in an accident. Full of recriminations, he actually came home just to ask their dad to sign a special power of attorney so they can dispose of his properties and get their inheritance.
Gladys is a doctor with two kids. Orlando is looked down upon by his siblings for being not so bright. He is married to Matet de Leon and is facing financial problems after a friend of his scammed him and ran away with his money. Christine is an aspiring actress and acts as a caregiver to their aging dad and youngest sister.
Jhassy’s character as Felipa is mentally impaired and she is called by her younger nephews as sinto-sinto. She tries her best to be believable in her role and she manages to be touching in some scenes, like when she tried to pawn the gold medals of her siblings, thinking they are really made of precious gold. Both Tonton and Gladys get to gloriously slap her.
Tonton is given good acting highlights, like when he goes to the tomb of his mom in the middle of the night to pour his heart out in a long aria to tell her all his “sama ng loob” against his seemingly uncaring dad.
But in the end, a letter left behind by their mother will reveal the reasons why their dad had to leave them for a while and this explains the family’s secrets. It helps to iron out all the kinks in their relationships for a tearful reconciliation and a happy ending.
Simon Ibarra is also exceptional as the dad. This is the most challenging role he has played in his entire career and he gives it his best shot. The movie has some musical sequences and he did well in the scene where he sang the “Abakada” song in full with Jhassy.
Another great musical sequence is when the whole family sang the 50s song “May Isang Binata Di Ko Malilimot” that gave it a very nostalgic feel. The movie as a whole gives you that kind of wistful feeling like it’s a relic from the old Sampaguita Pictures.
Jhassy says in the Q&A that she auditioned for the role of Felipa and feels so grateful she’s the one chosen to play it.
“Akala ko, madali lang ‘yung role but when we were shooting, it’s so demanding pala. I did a lot of research about her mental impairment. Mahirap, but I love the role so much so I gave it my best.
I want to thank our director and all my co-stars who are all very helpful in our scenes together. Talagang nakatulong lahat ng inputs na ibinigay nila sa akin during the shoot.”
She says she could not have portrayed her role well without their generous support.
“Lalo na yung pagsampal sa akin ni Ms. Gladys na nasaktan talaga ako at namula ang mukha ko. But now, I can say proudly na nasampal ako ng isang Gladys Reyes at maganda ang kinalabasan ng eksena naming yon. I’m really proud of the movie as it’s about love in the family, specially how to handle a special child. So don’t miss it po when it opens in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, December 13.”