The Troubled Gender Narrative of ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes’

Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes features Philippine superstars Judy Ann Santos and Angelica Panganiban in a tale of infidelity told through wit and humor. It tells the story of Lianne Reyes (Santos) and Cindy Reyes (Panganiban) whose lives got entangled after finding out that their husbands are actually lovers. Circumstances got even more complicated when the two Reyeses attempt to break the relationship of their husbands, who plan to get married in Taiwan.

In the very essence of it, both Panganiban and Santos delivered solid performances that are both heartfelt and sincere. However, it was Santos who owns the movie because the story focuses more on the complexities of her struggles as a wife, a mother, and a woman torn between her anger and love for her husband.

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For her part, though, Panganiban did not get left too far behind with her impeccable comedic timing matched with seamless transitions to genuine pain and despair.

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Joross Gamboa as Santos’ husband, Gary, and JC De Vera as Panganiban’s spouse, Felix, also gave noteworthy performances. Their portrayal of closeted men, who finally found the courage to liberate themselves effectively, supported the genuine performances of both Panganiban and Santos, who, in the quiet moments, shared their pain as if it’s also our pain, and in outrageous events, conveyed their desperation as though it’s our futures at stake as well.

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There is no denying that Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes is entertaining. It’s also such a pleasure to see Philippine icons like Santos and Panganiban sharing the big screen together. Likewise, the movie possesses a fresh treatment that is pleasing to the senses.

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However,  there are problematic messages that the movie, whether unintentionally or not, deliver.

In the macro level, the movie is not a celebration of the LGBT++ community. Rather, it is a new spin to the widely popular infidelity theme in Philippine cinema. While the combination of the LGBT and infidelity sub-genres looks promising, the mixture of the elements in the plot is the main dilemma of the movie. As a matter of fact, it bites more than it can chew.

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Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes poses too many problems that the resolution of the movie did not really suffice to solve the big conflicts presented. It was too late the redemption, to say the least.

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Lianne and Cindy were both victims of their husbands’ infidelity. Blaming them for their own misery is rather problematic. While the characters tried too hard to demand explanation, they were not given adequate time to process the scenario leaving them to find closure in themselves without the aid of clarity from their husbands’ point of view. It should be noted that whether or not the sin is committed by heterosexual or homosexual individuals, infidelity is intolerable.

Technology Used by Successwful BusinessesIt’s rather troubling, though, to combine the acceptance-to-the-LGBT discourse in resolving the issue of infidelity. Truth be told, any form of cheating is unjustifiable. As for the movie, resolving the issue of cheating through the lens of social acceptance is not appropriate. Life is never going to give anyone an easy way out. Albeit the movie is a comedy, it must have enough muscles to carry the weight of the problems it presented.

Of course, the intention of the movie could be the magnitude of pressure put on the shoulders of the LGBT community that pushes them to committing mistakes they might soon regret. While it may be true in most cases, it did not help that infidelity is shielded merely because it was committed by closeted members of the LGBT community. Portraying Gary and Felix as heartlessly selfish individuals surely is not the way to address the issue.

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Furthermore, it was not the asset of the movie that domestic issues brought about by infidelity is primordially trivialized. Trying to neutralize Lianne’s anger as a hurting wife did not help in elevating the discourse. It only downplays her struggles that proves to be limiting in understanding the main motivation of her husband to leave her that way.

While there were several attempts at reconciling the domestic issues raised by the husbands’ coming out, it still was not able to hide the fact that infidelity is being justified just because there is a clamor to accept the LGBT++ community. In the most fundamental idea, asserting for acceptance comes with a responsibility. Hurting other people is clearly not the best way to assert for it.

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Although the movie’s message is debatable, Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes still offers an exciting premise that may be worth your money. If there is one thing though that serves as the strength of the movie, it is the universal notion of love and the fact that love to be truly free needs to be alleviated from any selfish intentions. APAC New APAC New Zealand

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John Mychal Feraren

Crazy about popular culture, pre-colonial, and Spanish-era studies. Fan of Christina Aguilera and Katrina Halili.