Mrs. doesn’t really have any male characters, though the specter of them linger in the scenes. The movie follows Virgie (Elizabeth Oropesa), an elderly woman living in a crumbling house left to her by her father. Everyone in her family wants her to sell it move out, but Virgie stays firm in fulfilling her promise to take care of the home. Her caretaker Delia (Lotlot de Leon) is pregnant, and is about to get married to her lover. Virgie, who is asked to be a godparent, tries to help Delia out. Along the way, we get to meet a bunch of other women in Virgie’s life, including her sister, her daughter, a mentor, and a young lady that offers answers to a question that has haunted her for years.
It is Delia that gets most of the forward movement in this story, and that comes only sporadically. The narrative is pretty shapeless, content with following Virgie as she interacts with several different women. She argues with her sister about the house. She talks to a daughter abroad about the possibility of moving away. She meets with another daughter who hasn’t done as well, and joins her in a meeting of the very peculiar religious sect she attends. Every now and then, we get a flash of the burden that Virgie has been carrying for years, just a glimpse of a ghost that has never stopped haunting her.
And then sometimes, we’re back with Delia. Virgie deals with the possibility of losing the woman that’s taken care of her for so long. She doles out advice, and helps her deal when a caterpillar causes Delia to break out in hives. Later on, Virgie is there to see Delia through a very difficult decision. It’s an interesting way to tell a story. It could be described as more feminine in nature, more willing to explore the fringes of a story rather than just going in a straight narrative line. And while it is intriguing in concept, it doesn’t quite work in the film.
At some point, it just starts feeling like a parade of guest stars. With the story drifting so aimlessly, its concerns structure so haphazardly, only the performances really stand out. The film gets top notch acting from all of these minor roles, but they exist in little pockets of story that basically disappear once they’re gone. We’re mainly left with a couple of running threads, one of them explained away in just one scene, and the other suffering from a lack of real attention. Delia’s story deserves a little more time, given the gravity of what is eventually touched upon.
This is a very professional production, as one might expect. Everything looks and sounds pretty good. And again, the film has no problems in the acting department. Elizabeth Oropesa paints a very specific picture of this woman. Through her disposition, one immediately gets a sense of who this woman is, what she’s been through, and how much more she has left. Lotlot de Leon is lovely, and handles all her stuff with aplomb. The likes of Anita Linda, Rosanna Roces, and Angeli Bayani all kill it in the single sequences that they’re in.
There is clearly value to the way Mrs. tells it story. It’s an interesting narrative experiment that in literary terms reflects the unique qualities of its subjects. But it doesn’t quite work out. It just ends up feeling shapeless, the bits of story not cohering in a way that does justice to the overall picture that the film is trying to paint. Still, there is merit to the attempt, and there are more than a couple of dynamite scenes in here that are made possible by the unusual structure. It’s a mixed bag, all in all.