Glorious (Concepcion Macatuno, 2018)

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I would not pass judgment on the sex scenes. Because when it comes to them, I am not as experienced. To say if such a scene is photographed realistically or not, if an actor looks unquestionably aroused or, if he or she’s just faking it, i’d rather not comment. I have not seen as many adult films as a lot of you have to make acute distinctions haha. I carry no badge of expertness in this category so I would keep my lips pursed on the director’s and the actors’ execution of those delicate acts.

But the movie Glorious is littered with such intimate scenes. And they prolong the duration of this simple story. It is about a 52-year old woman, Glory (Angel Aquino), who falls in love with Niko (Tony Labrusca), a young, stubbled, lightly-tanned chinito. It is also about Glory’s small circle of domestic relationships. She is separated from her husband (but he still visits the house to provide financial support?), with a teenager son and daughter in her care, with a set of ‘loud’ friends who ocassionally accompany her. Ultimately, it is about her personality and outlook changes after this young handsome home decor lights salesman succeeds in making her fall for him, against social conventions.

We are set up to expect more intimate scenes between the lovers at the onset. In relation to that, the movie also promotes that older women should have no qualms in expressing their sexuality and affection, like in holding their young man’s hands and body or planting wet kisses, whether in public or in the privacy of their bedroom. No woman of Glory’s age should still have fears or guilty feelings for being aroused or feeling sexy. Glory learns these lessons. We will see her explore her body more as a result of her revived sexual activity. For the movie to tackle these is commendable.

It takes a long time though, after watching a lot of shots of romancing and making love, before the crack and tension in the Glory-Niko relationship would appear. Probably at the last one-fifth of its duration is when the problems show up: insecurities rise and the characters’ flaws become more apparent and destructive to the affair. Because of those, when the movie climaxes, we feel the hump, and it’s not the best way for a narrative to make an impact. In Glorious, the ‘foreplay’ takes a big chunk of time that it feels like an overkill.

Angel Aquino looks deglamorized and is made older in a few scenes, especially in the key scene where she is running away from Niko’s place, with those loose, drab pants and blouse that she does not deserve. But generally, she’s okay. Even cool. I am trying to figure out what went wrong. Why is Glory’s character not as memorable as her supporting and cameo performances in other movies when on second viewing, she looks well-lit and we sense her level of trust and commitment to the project. Similarly, we sense it in her co-stars.

It could be because of my biggest turn off about the film. When we close our eyes, when we listen through our earphones, we hear the characters converse and the sound is old fashioned and familiar. The intonation patterns, the manner the dialogues are delivered, and the actual register of voices in recordings, they collectively sound like from a radio soap, like AM drama. They hurt whatever realism the movie tries to project. They also add to the feeling that the movie was inexpensively made. That’s why in hindsight, when we recall the well-celebrated Labrusca tongue in the French-kissing scenes, when we recall it flicker on Angel’s tight belly, teasing her belly button, when we hear Angel’s gasps, there’s this other side in our brains that flashes drone shots of houses, of mountains of Benguet, and of Baguio city landscapes that had been captured a lot better by YouTube vloggers–they bring back the thought of mornings with an arhytmic series of caws. And the caws either dissipate or kill the urge to have sex.

~Robert Cerda

Glorious is available for free streaming at IWantTV

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