Being that country where colonial mentality is widely prevalent, products of Filipinos obviously aren’t supported as much as those of the Westerners’. From songs to tv shows and films, foreign works have stolen the hearts of Filipinos and have made them go against their own. Panic at the Disco is chosen over Parokya ni Edgar, Game of Thrones over Encantadia and the list goes on. However, based on my experience, being a part of a barkada whose interests mainly compose of anything Korean or American, I have discovered one piece that started the slight change to this mentality of ours. That is the film of Cathy Garcia-Molina, She’s Dating the Gangster.
Besides the box office actors and actresses consisting the movie such as the famous Kathniel and CharDawn loveteams, it was mostly because of the plot that made the viewers hooked to the movie. It all starts when Kenneth confronts his father, Kenji, about who the other woman was, particularly the other Athena in his life besides his mom (who has died already). They fight over it and leave each other in bad terms until the next day where Kenneth wakes up with the news of his father being part of a plane crash. He rushes to the airport hoping to find his father on the list of survivors and chances upon a stranger, Kelay, who was also looking for Kenji saying that he’s her father with an old picture as proof.
With all the flights to Bicol booked, Kenneth opted to take the bus and annoyingly allowing Kelay to join him. As the bus took off, so did Kelay’s story behind the picture she had of Kenji Delos Reyes and Athena Dizon – her aunt. Twenty years back, Athena Abigail Tizon (Kenneth’s mother) broke the heart of the campus gangster, Kenji Delos Reyes. Out of desperation, Kenji plotted to fake a relationship with the ugly Athena, Athena Dizon for Abi to feel jealous. They wore matching shirts, played billiards together and even supported each other in games. However, with all these pretending little did they know that their feelings were already mutual. So, in Kenji’s words they decided to be mag-on.
With their REAL relationship in boost, problems started to slap them in the face. Abi was diagnosed with stage three of gastric cancer, and because a mother’s love would go over thousands of mountains she asked Kenji a favor, for him to stay with Abi so that she would have a reason to live. After which was Athena seeing Abi’s state, sacrificing her love for him and telling Kenji to break their relationship for Abi, even if she too is sick with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Kenji and Abi got married and gave birth to Kenneth.
The story ended with Kenneth bringing his father to the Dizon’s in order for the two adults to meet for the last time. The whole gang was there as Athena closed her eyes and died in Kenji’s arms. For the case of the young adults, Kenneth planned and re-enacted the airport scene, tricking Kelay and prompting the start of their own relationship.
From all of the movies I have watched, this has been one of my favorites and also one of my (Koreaboo and Filipino Film Hater) friends’. This proves that not all Filipino films are composed of the usual and cliche plot and that the Filipino film industry has taken its step in gaining progress. As Filipinos I think that we should judge less and avoid generalizing the movies created by our fellow countrymen. We should help remove colonial mentality even by taking baby steps. Have She’s Dating the Gangster watched by your friends!! You won’t only drown in tears but you’ll also be able to change your perspective of this Philippine media.