Why “The Mistress” Is My Favorite Filipino Movie

I was scrolling down this blog when I came across an entry about “My Little Bossings” and how annoyingly cliche it was. It got me thinking why good, quality Filipino movies are so under appreciated and these movies that boast the latest comedy stars with the most basic, almost unoriginal plot lines get the spotlight. Good dramatic movies that actually get you thinking are almost always second or third to comedies that give little intellectual value and at the same time kind of make it okay or funny to make fun of other people’s appearances or circumstances. 

I was watched “The Mistress” recently, and though it was a pretty cliche movie at the time when everyone in the Philippine media was so obsessed with mistresses, second wives, illegitimate children seeking legitimacy and other scandalous family affairs, the way it was presented made it my favorite Filipino movie. The title makes it seem like a really scandalous movie that would best be watched without your parents around, but it was actually pretty wholesome compared to the other movies with the same theme. 

(If you haven’t watched it, I think you should stop reading here. I don’t think I can make my point clearly if I don’t talk about what happened in it here.)

To start it off, I’m going to talk about the title and how I found it to be pure genius with relation to the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie, you’re probably sarcastically thinking, wow how mysterious naman the title, sobrang hindi siya obvious. Actually, yeah, Bea Alonzo did play a mistress in the sense that she was the secret lover of a married man, but she was also a mistress in another sense. This conversation between John Lloyd and Bea literally had me pause the movie, blurt out “oh my god”, and rewind the scene: 

“You’re a mistress.”
“Mistress. Wardrobe mistress. Yan yung tawag sa mga babaeng master cutter.”
It was such a moment and I couldn’t believe how smart it was. 
And of course, like every Filipino movie, there’s a plot twist. Or twists. So the first twist was that John Lloyd’s character liked Bea Alonzo’s character and it turned out that Bea was the mistress of John Lloyd’s father. I did not expect the connection at all. But actually, now that I’ve thought about it, I should have expected it because that’s how most teleseryes work here. Everyone’s always connected to each other’s families. The second twist was that when John Lloyd found out, he was okay with it and they still continued their relationship because he knew that she really did love his father and that she also really needed the money to sustain her family. She wasn’t a mistress because she was bored and needed attention, but she actually did have better reasons to do it (I’m not saying they’re right reasons, but compared to the other more selfish reasons). 
I also appreciated how the story line wasn’t so pilit like other movies. The events flowed naturally and it wasn’t too overdramatic and unreal unlike most tragic-start-happy-ending movies. 
The last thing I appreciated was that they didn’t end up together. Almost all Filipino films have the main stars getting married or kissing at the end of the film, but in this film, they went their separate ways. As cliche as its title sounded before watching the movie, it turned out to be one of the least cliche films I’ve watched.
I really hope that there are more movies like this in the future (not saying we should have more scandalous, mistress-filled movies, though), because it shattered all my expectations in a good way, and because the way the events turned out were very realistic and it wasn’t forced unlike other movies that are just in it for the money.

5 thoughts on “Why “The Mistress” Is My Favorite Filipino Movie

  1. I wish I could have watched the movie as well. It seemed quite interesting from the description you gave 🙂 At any case, I agree that more “realistic” movies should come to light. I’ve had enough of sugarcoating and extreme optimism as a tool or a catalyst for happy endings. I’m not saying that I’d like to go for tragedies. Oh no. But, I think people should realize that at all endings, there are a lot of learnings to celebrate and feel good about 🙂

    The tendency kasi for overly far fetched good endings is that it gives a concept of “everything must go well” when in fact, that’s not the case. And, it will be more painful when that is not the case. The media should be more careful in the consciousness they are trying to forward to the public 🙂

  2. I like how you were able to analyze a somewhat very typical and usual Filipino plot. I guess you just have to find a way to be able to look at the movie in a deeper and analytical way. It does seem a good exercise to be able to look beyond what is presented. Good job!

  3. I love that movie too! I appreciated how they veered away from the usual “happy Pinoy ending” that they give us in cliche movies. To me, it’s a cheap move how Filipino mainstream movie makers always try to outdo each other by creating happy endings, and like you said, making it look “pilit”. With this one though, the depth is there, the story substantiable. However, I just don’t like how the theme of mistresses, third parties, legal wives are becoming are trend in Philippine cinemas these days. Its proliferation is alarming because they are sensationalizing something as serious of a matter.

  4. I LOVE THIS MOVIE!! Though I felt as if the acting of Andi Eigenman was bad, I really liked the plot and the script. I felt bad because I really dont wanna feel like being cheated on. However, this movie just presented the reality that there are people who can be snakes and destroy relationships. This is the importance of love and choosing the RIGHT partner!

  5. I haven’t seen the movie so I don’t have anything to say about it, but I find that the local (mainstream) movie industry exploited the theme of mistresses and of having affairs. I guess it’s because Filipinos are feeding on it. I’ve seen with my own eyes how affairs destroy seemingly okay relationships; it’s the reason why some of my friends and loved ones ended up with broken families. A lot of us probably know at least one person who went through it so the theme is a bit relatable, apart from it being an intriguing matter. I still hope that the industry would stop exploiting this theme.

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