SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN’ is the sincerest film in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF)’s line up of entries, if not the most heartwarming of them all.

Its being a documentary film works for its advantage, and helped the film eclipsed other stronger films in the festival in so many levels. Since the characters are real, transcending their messages to the audience in its full rawness – pure, unadulterated, ‘as is, where is’ – becomes easier, more believable, and straight to the heart.

It wasn’t the first time that the plight of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) became the subject of a Filipino film but ‘Sunday Beauty Queen’ captured the soul of being one. By following the lives of a few domestic helpers in Hongkong, intertwined by their desire to make their Sundays useful, if not to become beauty queens at all, the film brings its audience to where the actions happen – on stage and behind the scenes, inside their bosses’ house, in the shelter for migrant workers, and at the inner core of their hearts. In those two or more hours, the audience saw the multi-faceted lives of the OFWs, heard their hearts beating not only for their bosses but to their loved ones living in the Philippines.

It is neither Flor Contemplacion nor Delia Maga’s but the stories presented in the films are as heart-wrenching.

The film’s power transcends from making people shed a tear or two in a lot of scenes and leave a mark of its own in the viewers’ hearts. The good storytelling and editing makes it powerful enough for the audience to wish it was just another film, that the characters weren’t real, that theirs are not real-life stories.

With the Philippines having the most number of pageant fans to date, and with how passionate supporters the Filipino pageant lovers are, ‘Sunday Beauty Queen’ is a must-see. It lets us take a peek on the inner view of at least one facet of the ‘beauty pageants’ we all love. The big difference, however is this time, it is not meant for profit neither for popularity nor for a particular cause – but on how it becomes an escape, if not an important part of the lives of some of our OFWs.

‘Sunday Beauty Queen’ is not without humor of course but its humor breaks the heart. It is not without poetry but its poetic lines couldn’t be weaved by any other poets in history. To prove my point, listen to every sound of this line uttered by Mylyn, one of the OFWs featured in the film:

“Nakaupo lang ako, nagbibilang ng mga eroplano, iniisip, ‘ilan pa kayang eroplano ang dadaan bago ako makauwi?”

And that’s just one of the many lines worthy of immortalization.

The film reminded us once again of how hard it is to work away from our family, and how it is painful to serve other people’s family in order to serve ours. It provides a new meaning to the truth that our OFWs are not just ordinary heroes.

While ‘Sunday Beauty Queen’ is packed with substance, the technical department is beyond quality as well. Director Babyruth Villarama knows what she’s doing and she did it right. The sound and the soundbites, all the frames and the editing as a whole, the shots – they are what constitute the making of one good film worthy of a ‘Best Picture’ honor. It is definitely a personal favorite.

Go and watch the film with your loved ones. Bring along the teens and teach them important values you yourselves couldn’t put into words.

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