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‘Miracle in Cell No. 7’ Philippine Version: Undoubtedly a Sentimental Tale

If the local audience were moved by the original version, it is undoubtedly that this local version is much more of a tearjerker.

Since December is a time for family gatherings or reunions, Viva Films made a good move in creating this Filipino version of the 2013 Korean tearjerker film ‘Miracle in Cell No. 7’ of the same title, adapted into the Filipino setting.

Sending this Aga Muhlach-Xia Vigor-starrer, to the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival 2019 is already a potential crowd-drawer

The screenplay is by Mel Mendoza-del Rosario. Nuel Naval is its director. 

If the local audience were moved by the original version, it is undoubtedly that this local version is much more of a tearjerker. There was nothing much of a difference in the storytelling except that the death penalty in the country has more sentimentality for the locals. 

The film is about a father-and-daughter who were separated by a crime that the former was accused of (rape and murder of a young girl) not committing. Aga Muhlach as Joselito ‘Lito’ Gopez and Xia Vigor as Yesha, Lito’s daughter.

Joselito’s character is reminiscent of Sean Penn‘s in the 2001 American drama ‘I Am Sam’, but as somebody who has an intellectual disability, Muhlach channels a rather endearing character. The parallelism between the two characters is too close, the former still manages to be effective. After two decades of so, Aga is most likely to bag the best actor trophy come ‘Gabi ng Parangal’ of MMFF 2019. 

Also, Vigor can easily win the best child performer in this year’s MMFF.

The film has the right mix of fun and drama. It provides a light story; it punches the faces and pierces the hearts of its moviegoers, altogether. The inclusion of familiar faces like Mark Anthony Fernandez and Ian de Leon will remind MMFF patrons of these two sons of showbiz royalties.

Lito’s gang inside cell number 7 are Joel Torre as Boss Sol, Jojit Lorenzo as Bong, Mon Confiado as Choi, JC Santos as Mambo, and Soliman Cruz as Celso. Together with the lead character–they all make the viewing entertaining with their brand of humor.

Johnny is John Arcilla, the warden who initially despises Lito could also be a frontrunner in the best supporting actor category. Apart from raking awards, since the film mines on the love for family and sympathy for an orphan child –it promises to be blockbuster. 

My only reservation is the production’s decision to render computer-generated imagery (CGI) for the air balloon that Lito and Yesha’s vehicle for escape. It looks fake. However, it didn’t diminish the much-awaited dramatic farewells of Lito to his gang and Yesha.

The final scene where the grown-up Yesha (Bela Padilla) reunites with her father Lito is one relatable scene.  

Catch this heartwarming comedy and family melodrama film on December 25 as it opens on December 25 in cinemas nationwide.


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