They say that you'll either hate or love The Mistress. Fortunately, I'm on the love side, and I'm still trying to figure out how some people ended up not liking it. I don't think it's perfect, and I can cite a couple of flaws, but overall, I think it's a pretty good movie.
Sari (Bea Alonzo) is a mistress, a female master cutter. But she's also a mistress in another sense, the other woman of Rico Torres (Ronaldo Valdez). Despite knowing all this, JD (John Lloyd Cruz) still chases after Sari, wanting her even though he knows that she's already somebody else's. It's a common other woman story, with a few twists here and there. But though the story may be pretty common, they manages to make it interesting.
I think most of it is because of the pretty tight writing. The conflict is established quickly. Secrets are out not even halfway into the film and the audience pretty much already know what's going to happen next. But the engaging exchange of dialogue and the performance of the cast keep you watching. You just want to see how it will unfold, how they'll get out the mess. Or if they'd even ever get out.
I've been told that there's something wrong with the execution of the story. But having no background in film, I can't really see what's wrong with it. Sure, there are some problem with continuity such as how the blocking of actors would seem to change, but it's something I can let pass. Two hours passed by pretty quickly and I feel as if every scene either helps explore the complexity of a character or pushes the story forward. There are no unnecessary characters that take too much screen time, and no side stories that doesn't relate to the main conflict. Each primary character is explored, given enough screen time.
I am blown away by John Lloyd and Bea's strong performances. I think that in this movie, they stepped out their comfort zones and really try to humanize their characters. They're pretty good at that already, but for The Mistress, the two pull each other closer and give more life to their characters. I am particularly impressed with Bea Alonzo's acting simply because I didn't really like her in her other movie roles. But this time, she made me feel for her character. She's in a role I'd normally despise, but I ironically think she gives justice to her role. But of course, Ronaldo Valdez and Hilda Koronel are quite amazing, too. (But I get distracted because Hilda Koronel will always remind me of my mother. Haha.)
I don't really have strong opinions against other woman, and I often watche this type of movie nonchalantly. But I never sympathize with the other woman, but Bea Alonzo's portrayal of Sari makes me understand her predicament a bit more. I don't think what she did is right or can be justified. But I can't really hate her for her choices. For some reason, I think Sari is merely a victim of the Stockholm Syndrome. She's merely a victim, trapped by the Filipino's concept of utang na loob. She was placed in that situation out of necessity. She didn't even ask for it. But out of shame, she stays and eventually, she falls in love. It's Stockholm Syndrome for me, but I'm no Psychology major so feel free to contest my analysis. Heh. She chooses to stay and I think that's where she begins to commit a sin. But I just hate Rico Torres, really. (I will leave out my impassioned rant against double standards when it comes to adultery. It doesn't belong here.)
What I really like about this movie is their play with the word mistress. I'm pretty sure they decided on Sari's career after they have established the main plot. But they creatively used it for Sari to be a mistress in two ways. One of my favorite scene in the movie is when JD describes what a mistress is while Sari takes his measurements. JD defines a mistress as a female master cutter but the term mistress already has a more complicated meaning for Sari.
There are definitely some things that left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. And I don't think I can ever erase in my memory the image of Sari and Rico Torres making love. And that's makes me sad. But overall, I think it's a pretty good movie. I'm not sure how much they changed JD's character to make it more suitable for John Lloyd . But I'm just glad that it's John Lloyd and not Derek Ramsey who played JD. I won't say anything else to prevent any Derek stan jump on my throat. I'm so sorry for that random comment. Hehe.
The Mistress is still out in majority of theaters. Check out movie schedules on ClickTheCity or SM Cinema's schedule.