Rustin Clyde Villanueva (Baron Geisler) was the front man of a rock band. He and his bandmates led a hedonistic rock star lifestyle with alcohol and drugs. One night after a gig, his good friend Diego (Alwyn Uytingco) died at age 40. Suddenly shaken about his own mortality and his unfulfilled life, Rustin made the decision to backtrack on his past, and fly back to Rotterdam, where he has some unfinished business.
While walking along the familiar streets and landmarks, Rustin recalled about Sheena (Izah Hankammer), the wife whom he divorced years back. Outside a certain apartment, he met a gay Filipino man named Bok (Phi Palmos) and his cute niece Yumi (Althea Ruedas). He learned that Yumi's mother passed away three years ago in a car accident, and her father was a worthless Filipino drug addict who abandoned his family.
Baron Geisler may fit the role of an irresponsible, alcoholic, drug addict and rock singer to a T. But the rest of the film where Rustin (using his auxiliary name Clyde) playing and interacting with a spirited little kid Yumi is something we thought we'll never see. Having genuine rapport with a child co-star is never easy, but Geisler pulled it off nicely, enough to elicit tear-jerking emotional connection with his audience when it counted.
The magical ingredient here is little Althea Ruedas who played Yumi. She was a natural young actress, sweet and precocious without coming across as annoying. She had good comic timing in the funny scenes with her uncle Bok, whom she called Ganda. She was delightful when she was trying her best to sing. She was dear and precious in that touching scene at the hospital ICU (unlikely as that was to happen in real life).
Director Marla Ancheta brought us to frenetic Morocco in her first Netflix film "Finding Agnes" and now she brings us to a quiet, less-bustling section of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Bringing the screenplay by Onay Sales-Camero to life, Ancheta once again showed skill in weaving together events of the past with the present. However, there were some contrived story elements and amateurish acting of supporting cast that mar the final product.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."