Etiquette for Mistresses is a story about five women who, being successful in their own careers, share a common dark secret which is still unacceptable in the eyes of the society and the church… being a Mistress.
The movie stars Caludine Barretto as Chloe, Iza Calzado as Stella, Cheena Crab as Charley, Kim Chui as Ina and Kris Aquino as Georgia and helmed by the renowned director Chito S. Roño under Star Cinema.
When you hear about the title, you might think of it as being a clichéd, theme-recurring movie but what sets this apart from other “mistress” themed Filipino film is that it did not capitalize on wife-mistress altercation or scandals but rather revolved around the harsh realities of being a mistress and the truth that they are neither the priority nor the first choice. The filmmakers didn’t celebrate or patronize the fact that being a mistress is good but it showed us their world and how they should act in the society they are part of. The movie delivered for me in sending a message that the only mistake they made, as a human being, was just that they fell in love but at the wrong place & at the wrong time and however wrong it may seem, let us also understand that, as imperfect human as we are, we don’t have the right to condemn or judge them. The movie also enlightened us about when is too much & enough for being a mistress and when to stop in order to give more respect to self as a mistress. I may not be giving a right message regarding the same situation but what I can share is that people need to be open-minded with regards to this situation and try to understand or know their side first of the story on why do they need to do this. On the other side of the story, being one who has friends with this kind of situation, I don’t know when and where is my limit as a friend in the eyes of God. Sometimes, I question myself if I made the right decision to tolerate them as I don’t want to delve into their own lives and business.
As for the entirety, the movie was well made, the editing of each scenes and the interconnection was neatly done, the cinematography was almost perfect since the shots being made through drone was groggy but I like the fact that they are using drone now more and more in their films. The scoring was classy and ambitious as it has a bit hollywoodish feel to it. Character development was there and each of them were given ample time to shine since theh have different scenarios and stories to tell. Flashbacks were done in the right way as well. The movie was a perfect balance of comedy and drama. The five lead actresses have their moments in terms of acting is concerned and all of them fits their roles perfectly. They complimented each other and saw the chemistry between them. Kris was ok but I still feel that she can still give a more powerful attack with her lines and facial expression as well. Kim was a revelation, she fits well to the character and gave justice to Ina. Iza knows her character very well as I only saw Stella in her from the entire movie, subtke, classy and calm. Cheena gave the dose of laughter and she was effective. Claudine is, as always, unquestionably good in drama. Chito Roño knows his vision for this movie and it was evident on the way it was directed. The cameos and bit players were very effective as well and though they may have small roles, their characters were very important to give more spice to the film and none of them were forgettable even the small role of Cherry Pie Picache. What I most love is the fact that they promoted Visayan modern songs in this movie which for me is a plus!
All in all, I will give the movie 4 out of 5 stars. I think that the movie was just too superficial and only deals with situations where they are mistresses of the rich, famous and influencial. They didn’t reach out to the world of middle class or ordinary mistresses… that could’ve been more interesting.