They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Padre de Pamilya, a family drama given the stampita of approval by the Church because it discusses the "perils of corruption", takes this cliché to heart. Armed, I'm sure, with nothing but good intentions, Padre de Padre de Pamilya soldiers on with its moral message: Corruption is Bad.
It's a fairly simple plot: Edu Mirasol (a very wet and wooden Cedric Jose) is an idealistic young man whose father (the surprisingly still hunky Ariel Rivera) works as a government clerk who is driven to an act of dishonesty to make his family's life better. (Yes, shades of Les Miserables, but this is nowhere near as compelling.) So poor Mr. God-fearing Head of the Family is framed in a corruption "exposé" by an annoying reporter and loses his job. Father is in trouble. Mother cries. Sister feels guilty for having a baby out of wedlock. Edu is determined to show the world that the real corrupt person is not his spineless father but the town mayor, played by Tessie Tomas.
Tessie's Mayora (or Mayoress, as Alma Moreno might have said) is the one bright spot in this movie. She's in top form as the tacky, brassy, and funny politician. It's classic Tessie Tomas satire.
Also, Jaclyn Jose's suffering Catholic mother is pitch perfect and even a bit creepy–like, is she channeling some Lino Brocka character? Or is she just an amazing actress stuck in a bloody awful movie?
I hate corrupt politicians just as much as you do. They deserve to be lechoned in hell. Sure. But I also hate bad acting, spastic camera work, annoying background music, and ambiguous endings.
This movie is supposedly required viewing for school children. They want to use it for "values formation". Hmm. There's a scene where Edu tells his parents that they must expose the Mayor for her corruption. They answer: we're poor, we can't go up against her, we can't fight–a sorry attitude for morally upright and apparently educated (albeit poor) people. In another scene, Edu discusses his father's problem with his friends, and one of the girls say that it's actually Edu's fault because he deleted the St. Jude chain text on his phone. So what are we teaching the kids? To become defeatist because of poverty and superstitious because of religion?
In the end, it seems that Edu's father starts working for the Mayor's sleazy golfing husband (Dick Israel). It's implied that the work is illegal. By the time Edu graduates from college, the Mirasol family is living in nicer digs and wearing better clothes while hobnobbing with the crème de la crème of local government. Looks like dear old dad sold out. Looks like life just got better for Edu and his family.
I'm not buying it.
Image from padredepamilyafilm.multiply.com.
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