Home Away Productions, Civilian Studios,

Lea Salonga, Eva Noblezada, Gustavo Gomez, Princess Punzalan, Kelsey Pribilski, Liam Booth, Dale Watson, Libby Villari

Rose Garcia (Eva Noblezada) is a young Filipina high school girl who lives with her Mother (Princess Punzalan) in a motel in Texas where she helps her mom clean the rooms. Both mother and daughter are illegal residents and in fear of an ICE visit, but despite that, Rose has a love of Country music and wants to be a Country singer. But when Mom is caught and sent away for deportation, Rose decides to stick it out and stay behind to seek her dream. But it’s a very tough life, and a few friends along the way, help her to barely survive in the Texas country dive bar scene. As she struggles to keep her head above water. This film has had a recent release in the theaters because of the lack of new films to be screened during the pandemic, and though it’s a 2019 film, it has a lot to offer.

This was a very well done and deeply touching movie that really has a lot going for it in a little movie! Eva Noblezada is a wonderful singer with a really great voice, and a Broadway and London history of live theater. She played the same role as Lea Salonga, who plays her Auntie in this film, on Broadway in the musical Miss Saigon. Lea played the lead in the original, and Eva in the revision of the play, and she has some great chops, for sure. This is her movie debut, and she is perfect in the role, and plays it extremely well. Dale Watson plays one of her idols in the local Austin, Texas country scene who recognizes her talent and tries to guide her as he can along the way. This is a sleeper film that can’t get much buzz because it is a very little film, but was really enjoyable. Now my personal ties to the Philippines I’m sure colors my viewpoint a lot, but I appreciated that though this film is about three distinct things, the first being the hardships of being an undocumented resident, the second being the struggles between a daughter and her mother, and the third being the difficulty in making it in the music business, this film never gets preachy about any of it. Especially the illegal aspect could become really a morality lesson, but it’s much more realistic and “this is how it is” without taking sides or pushing it down your throat. I appreciate this. In these difficult times, it’s a shame how people grab a viewpoint, and get very combative about how they are right and anyone who thinks differently is an idiot. This film shows how it is without coming down hard on either side. The acting is really special, and the “outside Austin” views (as well as the downtown a time or two) is very refreshing. This is not a made in the back lot kind of movie, it’s really there. Another bonus is that there is a small portion of the film that takes place in Manila, and though it’s small, it’s also very realistic of modern day Manila. All in all, this film was a very enjoyable hour and a half, and quite touching. It’s extremely authentic and very well done. This is a definite hidden gem and one that you’ll likely enjoy until the next Marvel Blockbuster shows up. This is the kind of film that takes you back to the theater gently. See it if you can.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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Rating: 3.5/5 (2 votes cast)
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