‘FAMILY of Two’ is a mother and son story so different from similar films we’ve seen before about family relationships that’s full of cloying drama and recriminations. Mel Mendoza del Rosario’s treatment of this one is very light, but there are scenes that will just melt your heart as they effortlessly affect your emotions and are poignantly well acted by the two lead stars.
Maricar (Sharon Cuneta) lost her husband when her son Mateo or Matty (Alden Richards) was only five years old and she has raised him as a single mom doing various jobs.
Now, Matty is 28 years old, works in an advertising company, and has asked her mom to stop working as he feels it’s his turn to serve her. Maricar is happy just attending to the needs of her son and tending to her plants.
Matty gets attracted to his immediate boss, Zari (Miles Ocampo), but he cannot freely express his feelings for her. While having a late night meeting with her at their office, Maricar suddenly shows up, worried about her son, meets Zari and even acts as a matchmaker for the two of them.
They get into an official relationship but Zari gets an offer to work in Singapore and she chooses to accept it as she really wants to be independent and work abroad, coming from a dysfunctional family.
Matty gets the same offer but it’s difficult for him to uproot himself because of his mom. That’s the biggest dilemma the two main characters face in the movie, but it’s really not much of a predicament as Maricar quickly learns how to let go of her son. She just feels offended when Matty posts her picture in a dating app without asking her consent first.
Alden delivers a first rate performance in the movie, shining in his own light dramatic moments, but “Family of Two” really belongs to Sharon Cuneta, who has really developed from being a singing teen idol in the 80s to be one of our finest actresses today.
She shines in several scenes, notably the sweet confrontation scene with Alden where he asks for her forgiveness and they both end up crying quietly.
We also love her in that wordless scene with Miles where she doesn’t say anything, but you can read all the unspoken emotions on her face and in her eyes.
And after the problem of Matty has been resolved, the film stays with her. She decides not to pursue her budding romance with Tonton Gutierrez, even if he seems a good match for her.
She decides to do something else and the film’s final scene is truly a big triumph for her and all mothers who have sacrificed their lives for their kids then decide to go on with their own lives after they are left with an empty nest. This is actually a perfect Mother’s Day movie.
What is so nice about the movie is it never resorts to melodrama or histrionics. There are no deep dark secrets suddenly revealed in the open. It’s a feel good movie that is just full of well meaning characters and positivity.
Sharon’s Maricar is not the meddlesome mom often intruding into the lives of her kids usually portrayed in movies or TV shows. She’s just very caring and supportive, but does offer loving advice when asked for it.
Matty is not totally dependent but you can see that they are genuinely significant for each other. They come out as real people and not mere caricatures.
Elderly parents like us can easily identify with the story. We’re done raising our own children and we’re ready to spend the sunset years alone, but with our own kids still in the background raising their own families. Believe us, it’s a very fulfilling situation for people like us who are in the pre-departure area.
After “Family Matters” which is about conflicting family members, Director Nuel Naval now comes up with a more intimate portrait of the relationship between a mother and a son who have become so attached to each other that they really have become a family of two.
There are no contravidas here, but just a moving journey of a mother and a son told without being manipulative or desperately trying to squeeze out tearful emotions from the audience. The well plotted narrative just flows so smoothly and told with much endearing humor and tenderness. Cineko Productions should be commended and encouraged for producing inspiring family films like this.
The movie gets great support from Jackielou Blanco as Sharon’s nosey but well-meaning neighbor, Tonton Gutierrez as a very tentative love interest, and Alden’s zany officemates led by Pepe Herrera.
Miles Ocampo is fine as Zari, but for the life of me, and at the risk of being accused of body shaming, she’s just distractingly overweight to be Alden’s love interest and he is even prettier than her. We know she’s undergoing some health issues and here’s praying she’d overcome them so she’d be in a better fighting form in her next appearance on screen.