100 (Chris Martinez, 2008)
Joyce has cancer. She only has about three months to live. She has reached this stage in her life where she has accepted the truth that she's not getting better.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity, she decides to arrange everything in her life- patch things up with people she had issues with, clean up her apartment, go to places she's never been and do things she haven't done before.
An ironic and often humorous take on death and dying, Chris Martinez's debut film "100" takes us on an enjoyable life journey from the POV of a dying person, and this makes the experience all the more bittersweet because the main character knows she has a deadline, and she has decided that she needs to make the most out of her remaining time.
Played with no nonsense and with intensity by Mylene Dizon, Joyce becomes a character we can easily relate to. We witness her exodus from a workaholic career woman who's probably made a mess out of almost all her personal and professional relationships with other people, to a loving friend, to a repentant daughter, and finally to a woman who's come to peace with the universe. In fact, Martinez mixes elements of spirituality with cynicism and contrasts them via Joyce to create at least a discussion of the dying process, and how it affects not just the one who's about to die, but the people around such person as well.
We see Joyce's struggle to accomplish everything- finding closure with her ex (Ryan Eigenmann), dealing with her married fuck buddy (TJ Trinidad) who is head over heels in love with her, finding the right moment to reveal the nature of her health to her mother (Tessie Tomas) and even finding the right casket for her funeral. Joyce does not want to become a burden to anybody, which is admirable, and so begins her 100 days of preparation.
Not all of us gets this rare chance of redemption. Joyce, through her steadfastness and conviction to right her wrongs and live her remaining life to the fullest is a testament to how beautiful life is. Truly, we do not fully appreciate life until that moment where we are about to lose it.
Eugene Domingo provides a strong support as Joyce's best friend Ruby. Even delightful is Tessie Tomas who plays Joyce's mother. That breakdown scene in the hospital is equal parts hilarious and topnotch acting, while their mother-daughter confrontation at the dining table over a bowl of Kare-Kare is unforgettable. The dining confrontation scene is shot in wide, where even from a distance and without cutaways the performances are compelling. The line delivery forceful and the banter of convictions unshakable your eyes and ears can't miss them.
Martinez employs humor to lighten the subject and the situations, sometimes by way of dialogue, sometimes by way of plain visuals. The irony is so thick in seeing Tessie Tomas in the hospital bed and the already dying Mylene Dizon in the wheelchair, with their roles reversed that has Tomas saying "Ikaw na dapat nakahiga dito eh" (you should already be the one lying here) you could choke in it.
100 I think succeeds as a decent movie because of the quality of its story and the authenticity of its main character. It did not explain much about why Joyce contracted cancer (although her lifestyle can be a factor) which could be a good thing because it prevents us from prejudice. Henceforth we get to view Joyce's ordeal without bias and enjoy the mixture of ambivalence, sorrow, and glee that 100 brings.
Damn I should have watched this ages ago in the cinema, surrounded by a lot of people. The shared experience is the one I missed, and the one you couldn't get from a private DVD viewing alone.