QUICK CHANGE (Eduardo Roy Jr, 2013)
QUICK CHANGE is a satire of sorts, a peek into what madness has become of Filipinos' obsession with outer beauty, and at the same time a character study of a middle-aged transsexual trying to fit in a world slowly crumbling around her.
Played with comic timing and utmost sincerity by Mimi Juareza, the lead character Dorina acts as the means for catharsis. She has an infidel lover (played by Jun Jun Quitana), an age that cannot be denied and cannot seem to withstand competition from prettier and younger gays, and ironically, an underground cosmetic surgery business in peril of one day catching up with her.
In a macro view, Dorina sees it all while being a part of a cruel social phenomena herself. She gives collagen injections to gays who want to buff up their cheeks, or their breasts (and even guys who want to enlarge their "asset"), but at the end of the day she is still in need of acceptance as a woman, or rather as a human being. She understands the demand for collagen injection, and this is where she earns profit, but soon she realizes what aftermath her shady business may actually bring.
While a colorful documentation of the lives of its characters, QUICK CHANGE also acts as a socially-relevant canvas well aware of its milieu and how best to inject (excuse the pun) irony into its subject matter. Al Pacino playing the devil in THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE said that vanity is his favorite sin, and it is here that we see the excesses of vanity and how it destroys countless lives. Every time a needle goes through skin, we are squeamish. The devil is in the details.
The script is well-written, too. I liked the character of Dorina as a de facto mother, complete with a husband and an (adoptive) son (Miggs Cuaderno) and yet the equation is incomplete because of a physical limitation that seems to render Dorina less of a woman. The dialogue is laced with spicy one-liners, too which feels authentic because the casting choices were absurdly wonderful . The conversation comes out more natural.
Mimi Juareza is magnificent here, with her brand of underacting that may be compared as to that of Nora Aunor, exhibiting extensive emotions even at the slightest of gestures. The climax where Dorina just sits in her bed and slowly sobs is visually arresting.
The ending though is somewhat overlong, and confusing. While I do get that the business of illegal cosmetic surgery will still continue, what has become of Dorina? There are about three endings to the movie when the plot could actually be demanding only one.