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THELMA (2011)/ Maja Salvador, Tetchie Agbayani

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If you are hungry for a quality Filipino film, Thelma will satisfy that craving.

Thelma indeed has caused a wild curiosity among cinephiles when the trailer came out, giving us a glimpse of a seemingly unique and refreshing Filipino film released by Star Cinema with TimeHorizon Pictures. So are you wondering whether your curiosity is worth buying a ticket? The answer is a yes. Exchange it for a fast food meal, if you must.

In a remote part of Ilocos Norte, under the wide open sky, with windmills and mountains and sunsets and starlit nights, live a farmer and his poor family-- with a stubborn, rambunctious but deeply compassionate eldest child, Thelma (Maja Salvador), with an extraordinary talent in running. Lacking in school spirit and discipline, Thelma only finds joy with her younger sister's company in the raw beauty of their Ilocos Norte home, running wild and free without any cares in the world.

But an unexpected tragedy drove Thelma's life perspective to change and for her to strip her fears and lack of discipline away, and use her gift of running. And we follow how far her feet would take her.

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Inspired by true events, Thelma is fast-paced, heartfelt, touching and unpretentious, with an engaging storyline that will hook you to finish the whole 1 hour and 35 minute-running time. It's a real breather; a pleasurable break from your usual Pinoy indie films of urban poverty, and here we finally see the beautiful parts of the country for a change. And with its impressive, breathtaking cinematography and sophisticated, elegant and tasteful musical score, the film will absorb you into its dramatic narrative and emotionally connect with you, and might cause a tear or two to roll down your cheeks. Also, there are some LOL-inducing scenes.

Thelma, though, has glaring flaws that could only be seen by the most critical of reviewers. There are, for example, some actors' sub-par performance, particularly Tetchie Agabayi's (Thelma's mother) unnatural sing-songy delivery of lines and self-conscious performance (could be from her long hiatus) and the aunt's (Sue Prado) forced conversational tone and self-conscious performance, too, and some extra runners that looked anything but pro (awkward running with ridiculous smiling faces), especially the ending statement that sort of killed my admiration because it gave the impression of selfishness. Still Thelma has innumerable good points that the flaws are forgivable.

Impressively directed by Paul Soriano, with English subtitles, and most notably, a surprisingly brilliant performance by 24-year-old Maja Salvador (she is what you call an authentic actress who transformed into her character) who co-produced the film, Thelma is indeed a breakthrough-- a milestone in Filipino filmmaking. Something to be proud of.

I'd see it again.

8/10 stars

Now showing in Philippine Cinemas
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Comments

  • showing din ba 'to sa sm cinemas? i hope i can still watch it.
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator
    Just watched this last night. Here's my review :)

    Thelma boasts of amazing technical achievement. It has the most beautiful cinematography of any local movie that I’ve watched this year. The seas, the farm, the windmills, the sabong, the racetracks, practically every shot was breathtaking. Ilocos’ natural beauty was perfectly displayed here. I wouldn’t be surprised that after watching this movie you would immediately book a flight to Ilocos.

    However, the screenplay is a little confused as it attempted to touch a lot of stories but without developing it properly. Hannah’s accident was the driving force for Thelma to pursue running but it didn’t get the resolution it deserves. I’m not expecting a happy ending of some sort but the movie just left the arc hanging. There are also subplots about her mother’s sickness; her auntie’s love life and Thelma’s own love life, which I felt were unnecessary to the story.

    What the story got right is the plight of an impoverished but talented athlete like Thelma. I met athletes like her before when I was with the student publication back in college and I can say that Thelma truly symbolizes them. I saw in Thelma an athlete’s struggle to balance school while doing their best to shine on their sport because they really need it. While their future rests on how they perform, you can truly see that they are passionate with their sport as well. The homesickness an athlete could feel was perfectly touched here. When Thelma’s family called her and Thelma choked up, it felt so raw and affecting.

    The acting is pretty great in this movie led by the terrific Maja Salvador. Salvador commanded the screen like no other. You can see the dedication she poured in this role. Her Ilocano didn’t feel forced and she gave justice to the physical demands of playing the character. Her dramatic moments never went melodramatic or too sappy. I particularly like the scene when she and Hannah were eating empanada as they silently weep their misfortunes. It was a moving scene that never went over the top.

    While Thelma never fully reached its potential storywise, I still consider this one of the better local movies released in mainstream cinemas this year. 8 / 10
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator
    showing din ba 'to sa sm cinemas? i hope i can still watch it.

    per Click the City:

    Alabang Town Center Cinema 4
    Gateway Cineplex 8
    SM City Marikina Cinema 7
    SM City North EDSA Cinema 8
    SM Mall of Asia Cinema 6
    SM Megamall Cinema 5
    SM Southmall Cinema 2
  • Thelma is worth watching. Initially, I was skeptical about the movie. I know Maja is a good actress, other than that, I don't think there is much to be interesting with an athlete's story, but boy was I wrong. From start to finish I was glued to the movie. As forg's review of the movie, the cinematography is really good. The windmills of Bangui is worth-mentioning. Go watch Thelma, definitely worth your money.
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    showing din ba 'to sa sm cinemas? i hope i can still watch it.

    Yeah. Sa Centerpoint pa ako nanood. Kahapon lang.:D Kainis lang because the first five minutes walang audio. Tech prob.

    Check their site for screening schedules:
    http://smcinema.com/
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    forg wrote: »
    Just watched this last night. Here's my review :)

    Thelma boasts of amazing technical achievement. It has the most beautiful cinematography of any local movie that I’ve watched this year. The seas, the farm, the windmills, the sabong, the racetracks, practically every shot was breathtaking. Ilocos’ natural beauty was perfectly displayed here. I wouldn’t be surprised that after watching this movie you would immediately book a flight to Ilocos.

    True. But the arial shot, parang low quality, pansin mo? Parang kuha with a 3GP format. :lol: Still, the cinematography? Breathtaking. Maganda yung kuha talaga, grabe. And true, now I wanna go to Ilocos! :lol:
    However, the screenplay is a little confused as it attempted to touch a lot of stories but without developing it properly. Hannah’s accident was the driving force for Thelma to pursue running but it didn’t get the resolution it deserves. I’m not expecting a happy ending of some sort but the movie just left the arc hanging. There are also subplots about her mother’s sickness; her auntie’s love life and Thelma’s own love life, which I felt were unnecessary to the story.

    The sub-plots, I believe, are relevant, and all had something to do with Thelma:

    [CROUCHING-TIGER-DISAPPEARING-SPOILER]The aunt was terrified of the supposedly strict Tetchie, and so the story of her secret relationship was essential in order for Tetchie to forgive her in the end-- Tetchie saying that Thelma taught her something: ang tao nagbabago or something like that. That Thelma's success and determination also changed some of her mother's views. Epekto ni Thelma sa nanay niya.

    The mother's sickness was an additional trial in the family, another symbol of their suffering. But most importantly, an obstacle, a source of conflict for Thelma-- will she quit her training in Manila and be with her sick mother? That was a difficult struggle for Thelma. Anybody would rush home to a sick--and possibly dying--mother. That's an emotional pain Thelma had to endure. So the mother's sickness was essential, too.

    Thelma's love story is another obstacle, a temptation. Will she get pregnant and repeat her mother's fate? And during Thelma's loneliest hour when they were together by the sea, the guy blurts out that he's leaving, which added to Thelma's sense of loss. [/CROUCHING-TIGER-DISAPPEARING-SPOILER]

    So I believe the subplots were important. :)

    What the story got right is the plight of an impoverished but talented athlete like Thelma. I met athletes like her before when I was with the student publication back in college and I can say that Thelma truly symbolizes them. I saw in Thelma an athlete’s struggle to balance school while doing their best to shine on their sport because they really need it. While their future rests on how they perform, you can truly see that they are passionate with their sport as well. The homesickness an athlete could feel was perfectly touched here. When Thelma’s family called her and Thelma choked up, it felt so raw and affecting.

    I initially thought that the movie was focused on the sport, tracing the roots of a real-life successful athlete. But Thelma is more like a dramatic film, a story about love, compassion and selflessness, determination, and strength of character. Her love for her family, particularly her sister, was her driving force to compete (she never really had the ambitious dream because she didn't like to be watched). Her talent in running actually served as a vehicle to rise out of an impoverished life, and her talent was a saving grace. Initially, running for her was an escape, but after Hannah's accident, it's become a necessity-- but an enjoyable necessity because she loves running. And she was encouraged to reach for the top so that she can also make something out of her life, not let her God-given talent go to waste.
    The acting is pretty great in this movie led by the terrific Maja Salvador. Salvador commanded the screen like no other. You can see the dedication she poured in this role. Her Ilocano didn’t feel forced and she gave justice to the physical demands of playing the character. Her dramatic moments never went melodramatic or too sappy. I particularly like the scene when she and Hannah were eating empanada as they silently weep their misfortunes. It was a moving scene that never went over the top.

    Maja was seriously impressive, yeah. Galing!
  • xzzzxzzz 10th PEx Oscar Pool Top 10
    I have to agree with you guys here, ang ganda ganda ng cinematography, yung kuha sa dagat habang may alon pa, wow lang talaga!

    I like the story, there are times medyo ang bagal ng pacing pero damang dama mo talaga si Thelma dito. Ang galing lang ni Maja sa scenes nya, yung tumatakbo sya na walang tsinelas, astig!

    Ang ganda din sisterly bonding nila ni Eliza Pineda dito. I like Eliza here as well, her eyes are expressive.
    Na sad lang ako kasi akala ko makakapaglakad sya ending hindi pala

    Medyo na-distract ako sa acting ni Elma Muros haha kasi halatang minemorize lang ang lines
  • icolicol 10th PEx Oscar Pool Top 10
    “Minsan kailangan natin isakripisyo ang mga taong mahal natin, at ang mga bagay na mahalaga sa atin para maabot ang ating mga pangarap.”

    That’s what the film exactly did. Just when you thought that this is your typical Maalalala Mo Kaya episode or a Lifetime movie of the week feature presentation, there’s something about the presentation that made the movie a very good one and an enjoyable film to watch. Inspired by true events, Thelma is the story of a young woman who literally ran away from her dreams in order to make them happen.

    I was swept away by this film on so many different levels. The story, albeit not being original is not cliched as well. I actually feared that some scenes will be too predictable and too melodramatic, and I’m glad they they didn’t go that route. I was more surprised with how good the technical areas are. The transitions are cleverly inserted, and does not serve as literal transitions only, but give meanings to the scenarios as well. The score is effective, though there are scenes that don’t need background scoring yet were inserted. Also, the editing was sharp and my favorite is probably the cinematography. The windmills, the tracking field, the beach, looks as if they came straight from a magazine.

    Maja Salvador is probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, among her current contemporaries. She was able to carry the film, play the role well, and leave maximum impact to the audience. She cries, and you cry. She closes her eyes, and you’ll feel her pain. She smiles, and you’ll get motivated. She’s perfect for the role of Thelma and I’ll assure you that she is really great here. Eliza Pineda, John Arcilla, Jason Abalos, and Tetchie Agbayani played support effectively, and not any of them were forgettable. They all share chemistry with Salvador well.

    Above anything else, it was director Paul Soriano whom I’ll give the most credit with this film. You can clearly feel the passion with every shot and frame while watching. I’m not familiar with his previous works prior to this one, but it made me want to look for it and watch it. When there are so many good aspects in a film, the director has a tendency to overdo it. However, Soriano was able to contain everything and maintain it well. I’m more than excited to see his future projects.

    All in all, this movie really surprised me and knocked me off my feet. This is probably my favorite local film of the year. It makes me wonder why this didn’t make the top six for RP’s Oscar entry this year. Story is good, technical aspect is good, acting is good. They only come rarely. Thus, I hope you can still catch this little gem of a film.

    Grade: A

    Review in my blog
  • maganda nga itong Thelma pero sana dinamihan pa yung Running scenes and competition. yung talagang ma-feel mo sana yung excitement of winning and disappointment in losing.
    medyo nag drag at nag focus ng matagal sa dramatic scenes. naging dragging ang part nang umuwi sa Manila at nagkaLove Angle with Jason Abalos character.
  • Lola_Rose wrote: »
    True. But the arial shot, parang low quality, pansin mo? Parang kuha with a 3GP format. :lol: Still, the cinematography? Breathtaking. Maganda yung kuha talaga, grabe. And true, now I wanna go to Ilocos! :lol:

    Hi:wave: I was watching Behind-the-Scenes videos of Thelma on Youtube and it looks like they got the aerial shots by strapping a camera to a remote-controlled helicopter:D But with an independent film, that's a pretty smart way to stay in budget!
  • forg wrote: »


    The acting is pretty great in this movie led by the terrific Maja Salvador. Salvador commanded the screen like no other. You can see the dedication she poured in this role. Her Ilocano didn’t feel forced and she gave justice to the physical demands of playing the character. Her dramatic moments never went melodramatic or too sappy. I particularly like the scene when she and Hannah were eating empanada as they silently weep their misfortunes. It was a moving scene that never went over the top.

    That's my favorite scene!!!
    Kahit 3x ko na siya napanuod, naiiyak at nadadala pa din ako sa eksena na yan, ang galing nila Eliza at Maja sa eksena na yan.

    Gaya ng sinabi ng karamihan, gusto ko un mga shots nila dito, very impressive para sa isang low-budget movie. Ang galing ni Direk Paul at ng mga taong nasa likod ng Thelma. *okay*
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    katreeny wrote: »
    Hi:wave: I was watching Behind-the-Scenes videos of Thelma on Youtube and it looks like they got the aerial shots by strapping a camera to a remote-controlled helicopter:D But with an independent film, that's a pretty smart way to stay in budget!

    Hi. :)

    Talaga? :lol: Well, very clever indeed!

    Thelma is one of those movies that you still think about long before you've left the cinemas. And a movie you'd like to see again. :)
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Kaya ako nabibigla pag aerial shots na, bat ganun, parang malabo? :lol: Anong gamit nilang cam na kinabit sa toy helicopter? :)

    top six for RP’s Oscar entry this year.
    @icol Oo nga raw... :(
  • “Thelma” starring Dance Princess and Kapamilya Star Maja Salvador is a certified box-office flop!

    Thelma.jpg

    Read More: 'Thelma' Flops at the Box-Office, Earns P1.35-M in First 5 Days
  • special screening of Thelma on the 16th at Victory Alabang, Festival Mall, tix avalibale during the event. Details here >> http://www.facebook.com/victoryalabang *okay*
  • imho, we can't consider this a FLOP movie. THELMA is an INDIE FILM. just like what we've seen on cinema one originals, cinemalaya, etc. This is a masterpiece of Direk Paul. hindi ito nakikipag compete for box office, so wag nating i-compare sa ibang films. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
  • 'Thelma' wins at Mexican film fest, to compete in Madrid
    By JULIEN MERCED C. MATABUENA
    April 26, 2012, 2:57pm

    MANILA, Philippines – The Paul Soriano-helmed indie flick, “Thelma,” was among 10 films that bagged the Bronze Palm Award at the 2012 Mexico International Film Festival.

    “Thelma” was part of the festival’s Feature Film Competition. The nine other winning films as listed on the festival’s official website are “Dia de Preto” by Marcial Renato, Marcos Felipe Delfino, and Daniel Mattos; “Guadalupe the Virgin” by Victoria Giordana; “Nijiiro Hotaru” by Kounosuke Uda; “Random 8” by Kathryn Millard; “Salsa Tel Aviv” by Jorje Weller; “Teenagers” by Paul Verhoeven; “The Custom Mary” by Matt Dunnerstick; “The Last Cry” by Reza Ghassemi; and “The Pact” by Matt Toronto.

    Time Horizon Pictures that produced the movie wrote on its website that the film won “for demonstrating excellent and outstanding film-making.”

    More, also from to the THP website, “Thelma” will be competing at the 2012 Madrid International Film Festival in June, where it scored Best Feature Film and Best Cinematography nominations. In August, it will be screened at the 3rd New York City International Film Festival.

    Prior the MIFF win, “Thelma” clinched three awards at the 28th PMPC Star Awards for Movies held in March: Digital Movie Screen Writer of the Year (Froilan Medina and Paul Soriano), Digital Movie Director of the Year (Soriano), and Digital Movie of the Year.

    The Maja Salvador-starrer based on the lives of Filipino runners had also been invited to various international film festivals since its release on September 2011, including the 22nd CineQuest Film Festival, the 36th Cleveland International Film Festival, and the 31st Hawaii International Film Festival.

    http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/358076/thelma-wins-mexican-film-fest-compete-madrid
  • Maja gets another nomination for 'Thelma'
    ABS-CBNnews.com
    Posted at 04/27/2012 1:27 AM | Updated as of 04/27/2012 1:27 AM

    MANILA, Philippines – Actress Maja Salvador continues to reap praises for her performance in "Thelma," for which she has been nominated yet again as best actress.

    Salvador, who was earlier nominated as Best Actress in the 28th Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) Star Awards for Movies, said her latest nomination for the same film was another pleasant surprise.

    “Ang bilis ng pangyayari. After ng mga nominations sa iba, ito naman, Gawad Urian naman. At ang Gawad Urian, napakalaking karangalan niyan. Ako, ma-nominate lang ako, maging part lang sa nominasyon nila, ang-saya, masasabi ko na, at least, ngayon part ako,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.

    Although she is happy to have been just nominated, Salvador admitted she dreams of bringing home a Best Actress trophy – an honor that will make her family doubly proud.

    “Umaamin ako na nangangarap ako na magkaroon ng best actress award. Kung ibibigay ‘yun ng Diyos, sobrang nagpapasalamat po ako,” she said.

    “Kung makasungkit man ako, maka-swerte man, salamat naman sa tiwala. Sobrang proud sa’kin ‘yung family ko, ‘yung mama ko, ‘yung kapatid ko. Dream din nila sa’kin na magkaroon din ako ng award,” she added.

    The awards night of the 35th Gawad Urian will be held on June 14 (Thursday) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/entertainment/04/26/12/maja-gets-another-nomination-thelma
  • PaPi2010PaPi2010 Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTcLV-h9Y-NpYD9aPqMa9JmLfFJiKYMrMWPg50748R2amP2WVvoL--B_M0

    Maja Salvador tearfully accepts Best Actress trophy during 35th Gawad Urian

    Jocelyn Dimaculangan
    Thursday, June 14, 2012

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    “Sulit po ang paghihirap at sulit rin ang paghihintay para sa Best Actress Award,”
    says Maja Salvador about winning the Best Actress plum in the 35th Gawad Urian.
    Photo By: Noel Orsal


    http://www.pep.ph/news/34487/maja-salvador-tearfully-accepts-best-actress-trophy-during-35th-gawad-urian
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