REVIEW | Delia and Sammy is sharply funny and poignant

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Jaime Fabregas and Rosemarie Gil in a scene from 'Delia and Sammy.'

Nabbing this year’s CineFilipino Best Actress and Best Actor award for Rosemarie Gil and Jaime Fabregas, respectively, and a Best Supporting Actor award for Nico Antonio, “Delia and Sammy” is more than just effervescent performances, but it’s a sharply funny and poignant perspective of two unlikable people searching, no, demanding for compassion.

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A childless elderly couple, Delia (Gil) and Sammy (Fabregas), lives alone in a comfortable house in a subdivision, frequently carpooling with their offended neighbors for personal trips. Delia is demanding and manipulative, while Sammy is a womanizing homophobe. Two unpleasant people. Spoiled and entitled.

But Delia is secretly dying, and Sammy has dementia. Delia, fearing to leave Sammy all alone after her death, goes in search of someone to take care of him. And, in frustrating times, she herself is perplexed by her dedication and loyalty to a husband who has never been faithful to her.

But you root for them. These unsavory people grappling for survival. Not only because they’re old, but because they live alone in an island of pain, alienated because of their villainous nature.

Roger (Antonio), a newly hired timid security guard, gets hilariously trapped in Delia’s agenda, and on Christmas Day, he becomes the reluctant driver of their rickety Mercedes Benz on a road trip to uncertainty.

Therese Anne Cayaba’s debut feature is a smart moving tale of love, marriage, and sacrifice in the twilight years, made more richer by its unconventional protagonists. Gil’s Delia is a great pleasure to watch, regal, with an air of a movie star. She’s hilarious in her panic and haughtiness, and wrenchingly brilliant in her pain and vulnerability.

This is Delia’s journey more than Sammy’s, though, whose presence is sometimes frustratingly forgotten by the camera. Antonio complements the old couple, his dynamics with Gil is riotous.

“Delia and Sammy,” which also won 3rd Best Picture, is a lingering, bittersweet drama brimming with wit, tension, and strong, memorable characters that exist in real life. With a clear, solid narrative and soulful performances, it’s a must-see in this festival lineup.

4 out of 5 stars
CineFilipino Festival, May 9-15, 2018 in Gateway, Greenbelt 1, SM Megamall, MoA, SM Fairview, SM Manila, SM Southmall, SM North

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