REVIEW: ‘Glorious,’ an emotionless affair

GLORY (Angel Aquino) enters a hardware store to find a lamp for her husband and meets Niko (Tony Labrusca.)

You were probably one of the millions who’ve seen the trailer for sexy film Glorious, which went viral for showing Tony Labrusca shoving his tongue down Angel Aquino’s throat. The movie has been streaming for free since November on iWant — ABS-CBN’s version of Netflix, a digital streaming platform.

Glorious, an original iWant movie, is a racy May-December love story between a 22-year-old salesman, Niko (Labrusca), and a 50-year-old mother of three, Glory (a very youthful Aquino). Helmed by Concepcion Macatuno under Dreamscape Digital, the film is a sterilized movie adaptation of a “Xerex” piece, peddling sexcapades between an unhappily married older woman and her very young and buff boyfriend.

The opening of the movie bears a striking resemblance to the 2002 thriller Unfaithful. In that movie, Diane Lane — married to Richard Gere — is commuting home via train and giddily and guiltily recalling the torrid details of her first sexual encounter with the much younger Olivier Martinez in flashbacks. It’s the same in Glorious, except Aquino is riding a public jeep. Another scene, where Glory gets sexy time alone in her bedroom while thinking about Niko, is also reminiscent of Unfaithful. Coincidence?

Anyway, the film is flimsy, with character backstories and motives merely a sloppy excuse to film the beautiful Aquino making love to a younger man. It feels low-budgeted and spectacularly amateurish. The editing jumps and jolts, and the cinematography is a mess — the style alternating between a commercial ad and a crude wedding videography.

Now, the story has to make a reason why Glory would go for a younger man. She’s at a stage when she feels incredibly insecure — she’s old, broke, attempting to be a potter and married to a man (Allan Paule) who not only cheats on her and keeps reminding her that he paid for her brain tumor removal — but worse, accuses her of having poor taste in household decorative items. Ouch.

One such household decorative item, a desk lamp, becomes the devil’s tool for Glory to engage in an adulterous affair with the much younger guy. Glory enters a hardware store to shop for a lamp for her husband—and that’s where she meets Handyman’s Best Employee, Niko.

As Glory talks to the toothy sales boy, she struggles to articulate what sort of lamp she’s looking for, and Niko assists her by describing a certain type of lamp in a sexual way. So Glory chooses the sexually-described lamp, but then tells the over-friendly sales guy that her husband will come back for it — if the lamp passes his high standards in lamp design. Niko “innocently” asks for her number for sales reasons and she writes it down for him. It’s clearly love-and-lust at first sight for the young man.

Still lonely and insecure, and mocked by her obnoxious husband for recommending an ugly lamp, Glory is rescued from depression by a text from Niko. Soon, the two become textmates, until Glory finally agrees to meet Niko. That same night, they go to bed.

There is no romantic build-up or sexual tension in the love affair. The two just hop into bed and romp every five or 10 minutes of the movie. Not pornographic, though — the sex scenes are still safely within the PG-13 spectrum.

Aquino and Labrusca lack chemistry, and although Aquino makes an effort to express emotions through her sticky gazes at Labrusca, he looks back at her with his coal-black eyes, which is a bit unsettling. I couldn’t find a touch of color or light in the eyes of that young man.

The script seems to be penned by a young amateur, and the lines are delivered by the actors so theatrically and in a scripted fashion that the film feels like an underground and unauthorized stage play produced by libidinous high school kids.

THE movie is a sterilized movie adaptation of a “Xerex” piece, peddling sexcapades between an unhappily married older woman and her very young boyfriend.

Aquino has always been a competent actress, and Labrusca, who we last saw in this year’s Cinemalaya hit ML opposite Eddie Garcia, is not a bad actor. But Glorious somehow made these actors deliver an almost substandard performance. Of course, you wouldn’t notice any of this if you’re spellbound by Aquino’s lovely face and modelesque figure and impressed by Labrusca’s six-pack.

So Niko shows his love for Glory by slicing fried chicken for her into small pieces (“Hinimay-himay ko na para sa’yo”) and Glory soon moves in with him. She initially hides her affair with her boytoy by telling her youngest daughter Mia (Elora Españo) that she’s attending prayer meetings — when she’s actually banging a man younger than Mia.

Españo is given a story here. She engages in pre-marital sex with her boyfriend/classmate because, according to her, her mother is too busy with her prayer meetings to help with her thesis, and, with an ugly cry, tells Mom that she misses her. Mom feels horrendously guilty.

Glory is also perpetually worried about people’s judgments about her boytoying, but really, no one in the film is judging her except her BFF. So, essentially, there is no tension or conflict in this drama.

Glorious, a paper-thin digital popcorn entertainment intended for social media hype, is crude, oftentimes comical, and intermittently dull. May-December affairs happen in real-life, but this film lacks insight, character study, thrill, or drama.

Sure, it’s a genre movie that aims to titillate the senses and nothing more. But it’s an emotionless affair that disturbingly advocates pursuing one’s carnal desires because you deserve to be happy no matter how immoral your methods are — especially if your estranged husband is such a pain in the neck.

0.5 out of 5 stars

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