Everything About Her

Everything About Her

Everything About Her is a Filipino comedy-drama (though I would say it has more drama than comedy) film released in January 2016. It is directed by Joyce E. Bernal and stars the multi-awarded actress Vilma Santos, Angel Locsin, and Xian Lim as the main characters.

I have no technical knowledge on movie-making, therefore I can not talk about its technicalities. I will talk about the movie from the standpoint of a movie viewer.

The movie revolves around the 3 main characters. They are Dr. Vivian S. Rabaya (VILMA SANTOS), a powerful real estate mogul; Jaica Domingo (ANGEL LOCSIN), a nurse; and Albert R. Mitra (XIAN LIM), Vivian’s estranged son.

Dr. Vivian S. Rabaya, President, CEO of Optima Land

Right from the beginning, the movie shows the success, the power, and the character of Dr. Vivian Rabaya. She is tough, strong-willed, and runs her company like a slave-driver. She goes around with six-member-entourage with one carrying an umbrella over her head. Reminds me of Imelda Marcos when she was the First Lady. Someone carries an umbrella over her head wherever she goes while her “Blue Ladies” surround her... the epitome of power.

Dr. Vivian S. Rabaya, a Doctor of Humanities, is portrayed as a fearless woman who spews threats when her orders are not carried out. She hates stupidity in her staff, she does not want to repeat herself and she wants everyone to jump up and move when she gives a command.

As the movie opens, Dr. Vivian is in a speaking engagement. She is introduced as an orphan whose childhood dream is to have a home to call her own. That gives the viewers a glimpse of her past. Another scene also shows that she is compassionate to street children. She talks to the kids in a soft and kind manner, the exact opposite of the way she treats her staff at work.

But as fate would have it, the successful, the strong, and the powerful is hit with cancer of the bone marrow. She is given 29 months to live.

Jaica Domingo, RN

Then the viewers are introduced to Jaica, the nurse. Smart, confident and does not seem to take life seriously.

One thing that has confused me, though, is the elevator scene. I always thought that mobile phones do not work well in elevators. Many movies and TV shows have worked their conflicts based on the fact that there is no cell phone signal on lifts. But the scene has Jaica talking on her phone without any difficulty at all while she is inside the lift. It is such a comic relief when she talks about a seemingly very serious subject without the slightest effect on her light disposition.

I know the scene needs people to hear her conversation but it could have happened in an escalator or in a hallway and the effect would have been the same. But anyway, the director of the movie must know something I don’t so it has to be inside the elevator.

Also, I am not sure if I am right but I thought nurses should not have their hair fall on their faces but Jaica’s hair is all over her face even as she helps resuscitate a patient.

One critic said the movie is predictable. Of course, or it won’t be a Filipino movie. So we have a sick mogul and a nurse, then all we have to do is wait for their paths to cross.

Dr. Vivian wants a private nurse and her doctor recommends one of the best nurses in the hospital. The scene shows more of Vivian’s character when she did not want “one of the best” but the “best” nurse in the hospital. As is her wont, she looks down on Jaica even at their first meeting.

“How did you place in the nursing board exam?” she asks without even looking at Jaica.

“I was number 28.”

“Not even top 10."

From Jaica’s file, Vivian has seen 2 cases of insubordination but she also finds a rating of 10/10 from patients and their family members so she gives her a chance. Jaica is asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement because Vivian does not want anyone to know of her illness. Vivian threatens to sue Jaica and swears Jaica would lose her nursing license if she violates the non-disclosure agreement..

With the huge amount promised her, Jaica agrees to PDN and to provide nursing care to Vivian 24/7. To justify her presence at work, Vivian introduces Jaica as her Personal Assistant. Thus, begins Jaica’s ordeal with a very difficult patient.

Albert R. Mitra, Architect

With the thought of dying, Vivian decides to build low-cost housing for her company’s employees and laborers. Enter her architect son based in the US who does not want to have anything to do with his mother. Jaica decides to tell Albert about his mother’s cancer but begs him not to tell his mother that he knows. He comes home but the relationship between mother and son is cold.

Jaica is also struggling in her relationship with her mother who has left them to work overseas and has not come home for ten years but Jaica did her best to help her patient be reconciled with her son. It angers Vivian when she has realized that Albert knows about her cancer and it almost cost Jaica her job.

One emotional scene in the movie is when Jaica and Vivian talk in the garden about being a mother. Jaica obviously speaks of her mother while Vivian talks about herself but each of them represents their generation.

Vivian: “If a mother makes a mistake, is she no longer your mother? If a mother is bad, is she no longer your mother? If she fails you, does it lessen her being a mother to you? We are still mothers… I am still his mother…”

Jaica: “We did not ask you to go away and get rich for us, don’t make us your reason because the truth is, you want that for yourself…”

Well, needless to say, Vivian has changed. Her cold heart becomes gentle and compassionate even to her staff. And her relationship with her son Albert improves as Albert himself has found out he did not want his mother to die even as he hated her for choosing her job, career, and company over him and his father years ago.

The movie ends well but I would have wanted to know the story behind Jaica and her mother. Her mother works overseas and it looks like she did not abandon them because she has kept her communication with the youngest daughter. Why she did not come home for ten straight years, the movie did not show. Did her mother and father separate? Were they abandoned financially? Probably yes, because Jaica is shown to have a huge bank debt.

Anyway, the movie is a bit of an awakening. A powerful and wealthy woman who must have thought she owns the world is brought down by cancer. She is faced with a battle she could never hope to win even with all the power and wealth in the world.

Like she said, "Don't wait for cancer to tell you to give your mother another chance."

The movie shows Vivian asking, “What really makes you a success? Trophies? Magazine covers? Or your total net worth? Or is it really a matter of public opinion?”

Before the end, Vivian tells Albert that for her there’s a success that can never be equaled by anything, and that is him, her very own son.

How about you? What is it that makes you feel a success… or a failure?

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