Filipino films nowadays are too mainstream, for action, comedy, horror and even romance themed movies. In the movie The Mistress, John Lloyd Cruz (as JD), a handsome rich boy, whose father owns a telecom company, fell inlove with Bea Alonzo (as Sari), a typical Filipina citizen who struggles to work for her family. Later in the movie, it was revealed that Sari is a mistress of JD’s father (as Rico), and so the story revolved within that conflict.
As a Filipino watcher, it was quite unusual to see such movie because I got used with the flow The boy meets girl, girl don’t like the boy, boy makes a move, girl falls inlove, conflict, resolution, and happy ending. We may not know or observe, but we live in a patriarchal world, where men are usually rulers, kings or the powerful ones not only in governmental and economical position, but also within small groups like families. Men usually go to work and leave his family, while women stay home to do the lowly chores like cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry, lowly yet harder than it seems.
The portrayal of the role of men and women in the film appeared little bit similar of the description above, where JD’s father owns a company, the powerful ones, only that JD’s mother don’t do the lowly chores either. However, on Sari’s side, she is the laborer of the family, she’s a tailor. It’s her job which led her to be a mistress. Rico took the burden for her family, and in change, Sari has to give all her Thursdays to him. In addition, it also conveys the idea that men hungers for sex and always seeks for love, and women don’t take age as a barrier for love.
It is stereotypic in the sense that men, especially the rich ones, seems to be an asshole while girls appear to carry the burden by themselves all the time as portrayed by the film. Another thing which took my interest is the line “Hindi porket gusto mo, makukuha mo” which Sari said to JD at the beginning of the film, where JD met her and has fallen inlove instantly. In the sense, it promoted one of distinct Filipino practices, courtship. JD, knowing that Sari is a mistress, still continued to court her.
And later in the movie, JD had an answer to that line, “Makukuha ko kasi gusto ko. Kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw palaging may dahilan” (Not sure if that is what he really said). Fortunately for JD, Sari felt the same for him yet the conflict still exists. Lastly, the portrayal of women as prostitutes. There was a scene where Rico and Sari did something which only married couples could do. Why would young Sari do such thing with an ugly old man? If she allowed it just to pay her debts to Rico, it means that she will give anything just for her family, including her soul.
In the end, Sari’s role showed how hard it is to be a breadwinner and woman, especially if one have debts to be payed. In the end, the resolution was the death of Rico. JD inherited the company and Sari acquired freedom, and both of them have the intention to marry each other but it was not shown whether thay got married or not. The film did not change my beliefs nor my observations, instead it even supported what I know which is happening throughout the world, that we live in a patriarchal society. It may be little offending for both males and females, but reality is still reality (for me).