The premise of Tuhog is pretty simple and the format quite straight-forward. It's good that we're presented with the dilemma first. The audience immediately realizes the gravity of the situation, thus, being free to make their guesses on who will live and who will die. But you really won't know till the reveal. They managed to be entertaining from beginning to end. There's also a very good mix of comedy and drama that brings heart to a humanistic movie like this one.
There's a cohesiveness in the movie that's hard to achieve, because often it's either forced or not there at all! Pulling an anthology like Tuhog requires some detailed planning and effective story-telling. The segue from one story to another is done really well, making the hospital scenes the bond that holds the segments together.
On stories like this, it's easy to say that the youngest one has to live, not having experienced life to the fullest yet. On stories like this, the oldest person sometimes sacrifice themselves, saying they have lived long enough. In Tuhog, they have managed to balance the stories of all three, giving us enough reason to know that each one has a lot more to do in their lives.
Of the three, I enjoyed Tonio's story the most. Here's an old man who had a hard time finding meaning in life after retirement. Here's an old man who desperately tries to find motivation and purpose when everybody just wants him to stay still and let the young ones do everything. Here's someone who suddenly has all the time in the world to achieve his dreams of having his own bakeshop. He's on his way to realizing them when the accident happens. Without a doubt, Leo Martinez is the star of this movie.
What's amazing about Tuhog is that you'll be sympathetic with each of the character. You may not be able to relate well but you can see that each one of them still has a story to tell.
There are things I don't like of course. I think it borrowed way too many ideas from other movies. There are scenes that are so reminiscent of the movies My Sassy Girl and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, just to name a few. I'm not even sure if it's a sort of tribute or if it's intentional or they hope no one notices. But I was greatly bothered. Or maybe I'm just extremely protective of My Sassy Girl? Heh.
I also didn't like how some of the doctors have this "formula" in which they predict the patient's chances of survival. They seem to take life so lightly, and it's so off-putting. (SPOILER ALERT) It's also weird how one of the doctors suddenly claimed the responsibility for Fiesta's baby. Like, WHY? It's not like they formed any bond while they were in the emergency room. It happened out of nowhere and completely threw me off balanced.
But aside from my very minor complaints, it's a movie I really appreciate. It's part of Star Cinema's anniversary celebration, and it's nice to see them try not to be too mainstream when it comes to the story and even the approach. Heck, I even love their choice of actors!
I'm not sure till when Tuhog is showing, but if you can, try to catch it in the cinemas. It's really worth the watch!