iWant is a streaming application type of content platform exclusively available in the Philippines that is owned and operated by ABS-CBN. It offers TV, movie, audio, and live content for registered viewers that they can stream anytime and anywhere on demand on any gadget. It used to be known as iWanTV when this service was first launched in 2010.
The film chosen for iWant's maiden salvo is one that immediately grabbed social media attention the first time its provocative trailer was released on November 4. Views of the trailer alone have approached the 2-million mark. The controversial subject matter of this Dreamscape Digital production had obviously sparked the interest of a broad segment of Filipino society.
Glory is a 50-year old former bank manager who is beginning a pottery business. She has three adult children and an abusive husband (Allan Paule), with whom she is now estranged. One day, when shopping for a lamp, Glory met Niko, a driven, confident, and persistent 22-year-old salesman at a home decor store. From that day on, the lonely life of Glory was taken to a whole new level.
We have seen May-December love affairs where the female was much older than the male portrayed on film before. But these were usually from Hollywood, in films like "Notes on a Scandal" (2006) and "The Reader" (2008).
Among local films, there may not have been a lot. Only "Love Me Tomorrow" (2016) which starred Dawn Zulueta and Piolo Pascual comes to mind. That is why when the trailer of "Glorious" came out showing Angel Aquino engaged in very torrid kissing scenes with Tony Labrusca, the Internet went crazy.
Aquino is an ageless goddess. With an extraordinarily attractive face and figure like hers, she could drive any warm-blooded male (or maybe even female) wild with passion. Her character was written to be depressive and submissive to men, which made her seem very weak and vulnerable. I felt she could have delivered more acting-wise in separate confrontations with her daughter (Elora Espano) and Niko's grandmother (Erlinda Villalobos), but the dialogue in these scenes was not developed in Glory's favor. There could have been more challenging ways these conflicts could have gone which Aquino could've met head on.
Labrusca continues his daring streak of unconventional and controversial movies in his debut year in feature films. He began with "ML" (about Martial Law) and followed it up with "Double Twisting Double Back" (about sex addiction). As Niko, he had to be convincing with his charismatic gift of gab and prodigious bedroom skills to complete the irresistible Adonis that swept Glory off her feet. While Labrusca had the physical requirements of the role down pat, he still felt rather wet behind the ears in his dramatic scenes with Aquino. However, his promise as an actor and leading man is definitely on track.
Writer-director Connie Macatuno gave the film a feministic feel to empower abused and neglected women to get up and find their own happiness. The story by itself was a simple "MMK"-type personal drama, but ostensibly the steamy sex scenes were the biggest selling point of this film, comprising a significant percentage of its 1-hour, 47-minute running time. These scenes were executed with slick camera work and editing for full erotic effect, albeit sanitized for mainstream viewing. The ending, though, will surely provoke as much discussion as the trailers did.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."