The Episcopal Commission on Social Communication-CBCP

CINEMA (Catholic INitiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation) of The Episcopal Commission on Social Communication of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines presents movies viewed in the light of the gospel. . *** For inquiries, please EMAIL: cbcpcinema@gmail.com *** CALL or TEXT: (02) 664 5886 *** or WRITE TO: CINEMA, Episcopal Commission on Social Communication, CBCP Compound, 470 General Luna St. Intramuros, Manila *** Enjoy the reviews, and THANK YOU!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Safe haven


LEAD CAST:  Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Noah Lumax, Mimi Kirkland,  David Lyons.  DIRECTOR Lassie Halstrom.  SCREENPLAY:  Leslie Boheme and Dana Stevens, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. CINEMATOGRAPHY:   Terry Stacey.  MUSIC: Deborah Lurie.  GENRE:  Drama/romance. RUNNING TIME:  1:55

Technical assessment: 3
Moral assessment: 2.5
CINEMA rating:  A 14
MTRCB rating:  PG 13

In a middle class home in Boston, a man is stabbed by a woman.  There is no witness.  Confused and with bloodied hands she runs away.  We learn later that to help bury her past behind, she had cut her long dark hair and dyed it blonde, and then she boarded a southbound bus.  She finds a low key North Carolina community where she can feel safe; there she introduces herself as Katie (Julianne Hough), landing  a job as waitress at a seaside resort.  She rents a cabin in the woods, certain that as a complete stranger she would then start a new life.  She is soon befriended by a neighbor Jo (Cobie Smulders) and the owner of the town’s general store Alex (John Duhamel), a recent widower with a pre-teen son Josh (Noah Lumax), who has yet to get over his mother’s loss, and a perky eight-year old daughter (Mimi Kirkland).  After the first alternately polite and awkward encounters, Alex and Katie start to warm up to each other.  Things get sweeter—until Alex spots a bulletin at the local police station tagging Katie as a suspect in a first-degree murder case.
Message in a Bottle, The Notebook, Dear John, and Safe Haven—they have something in common.   They’re all Nicholas Sparks novels, of course, and as romance stories they all give hope to people (especially women) who believe that for every woman there is a man destined to be hers alone, who will be faithful to her, love her forever and ever.  It doesn’t hurt if the man is also good looking and well-mannered and tender hearted and … well, a good catch.  Chick-flicks, that’s what they’re called.  People in general do not see such movies to criticize, measure its merits in the technical department and see if they’re Oscar material.  They draw crowds who want to nurture their romantic hopes or to get carried away by their drama.  But, of course, CINEMA cannot but say a few things about how well made Safe Haven is—until the unexpected twist towards the end.
With the credible though predictable plot, the likeable characters, the bad guy we would want to protect these beautiful characters from, we are willing to close an eye to a few editing slips so we can hope without interruption that everybody would end up happily ever after—after all how can anything untoward happen in such a pretty place as that safe haven?  But Safe Haven pricks its own high flying balloon, and we land on the ground with a thud, feeling we’ve been had.  This uncalled for denouement to the story douses cold water on our viewing pleasure, and we’re left to wonder if the movie’s genre should now be changed from romance to horror, or maybe even  psychological thriller.  Worse, we come to ask: shouldn’t the heroine who has so elicited our sympathy be locked up in an asylum?
Safe Haven’s release must have been timed to fill the Valentine’s day craving for a romantic pop corn date but, really, there are far more worth-your-money ways to celebrate love with.  
  

A good day to die hard



Cast: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Sergei Kolesnikov, Yuliya Snigir; Direction: John Moore; Story and Screenplay: Skip Woods, based on the characters by Roderick Rhorp; Cinematography: Jonathan Sela;  Editing: Dan Zimmerman; Music: Marco Beltrami; Producers: Alex Young, Wyck Godfrey; Genre: Action; Running Time: 110 minutes;  Location: Russia; Distributor: 20th Century Fox
 
Technical assessment:  3
Moral assessment: 2.5
CINEMA rating:  V18
  
In Moscow, Victor Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov), a high ranking official coerces whistle-blower and political prisoner Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) into handing over a secret file which Chagarin believes to have incriminating evidence against him.  Simultaneously, Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) is arrested and offers to be a witness against Komarov in exchange for a shorter sentence. In New York, John McClane (Bruce Willis) learns of his estranged son’s arrest and decides to go to Russia to bail him out.  What John doesn’t know is that Jack is actually a CIA operative who is trying to rescue Komarov and retrieve the file, too, as part of his mission to thwart a major crime in Chernobyl.  But John’s sudden appearance spoils the CIA’s plans and Jack is left to continue his mission on his own. Jack, trying to win back the son he has never known, trails along and constantly proves to be their life saver with his street smart keenness and wit to counter the double crossing and deceptions that happen along the way.
From one explosion after the other, the film desperately tries to fill in the crevices of storytelling with a poor excuse of a father-son plot, which may not sustain the audience's sympathy or interest.  The chase sequences, which must have received the biggest investment in the production, are just loud and tiresome to watch. Unless the McClanes have found an amulet to shield their bodies from death,  the action sequences are implausible for ordinary humans to survive. The greatest satisfaction is counting the minutes before the end credits roll because between waiting for the next explosion and for Jack to finally call John "dad", the scenes pass through like a madman's train of thought—absolutely meaningless and senseless.                                                                                     
John McClane follows this philosophy—“Get the bad guys.”  Okay, that is good so far.  But then, he continues this statement with  "at any cost".  Now it becomes problematic because at any cost in the movie means blowing up cars, destroying property, endangering lives of innocent by standers who happen to be in the way of the action.  Fine, the McClanes are supposed to be macho heroes who take fear and danger by their horn but with all the damage and violence that came hand in hand with the action, one would have to ask if the effort was worth it. 
On the other side of the plot is a father desperately trying to win the affection and respect of the son he had neglected in his youth.  The film’s attempt to make a statement for the importance of the father-son bond, albeit against a backdrop of violence, is the movie’s saving grace.  It has tender father-son moments to emphasize the need for family unity and love but the explosions and the violence are much too loud to have that lesson instantly heard.  One has to pay attention to the close-ups—the exchanges between father and father, father and son, father and daughter—to get the message.   A good day to die hard wants to say that the human need for family and the parental need for filial love outlast a man’s need for success in his career even if that career were as dehumanizing as detective work.   It is never too late to begin to heal wounds and start over again.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Upside down

Cast: Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst; Direction: Juan Diego Solanas; Story and Screenplay: Juan Diego Solanas; Cinematography: Pierre Gill; Editing: Dominique Fortin;  Music: Benoit Charest; Producers: Claude Leger, Dimitri Rassam, Aton Soumache; Genre: Sci-fi Drama;  Location: Running Time: 110 minutes; Distributor: Touchstone Pictures

Technical assessment:  3
Moral assessment: 3
CINEMA rating: V14
MTRCB rating:  GP (General Patronage)

In another part of the universe, twin worlds exist with the following rules of gravity:  1) All matter is pulled by the gravity of the world it comes from; 2) An object’s weight can be offset by matter from the opposite world or inverse matter; 3) Matter in contact with inverse matter burns after some time.  The inhabitants of each world are not allowed to have any relationship with each other and their only contact is through Transworld, an industrial corporation built by the world above that enables it to get gas from below at the same time supplying it electricity at such high cost.
In the poorer exploited world below, Adam (Jim Sturgess) lives as an orphan who has inherited from his aunt a secret formula that allows matter to defy gravity while on the richer oppressive world above, Eden suffers from amnesia after a fatal accident when she was a teenager. The memories Eden lost before her accident were the secret meetings she made with Adam. Ten years after the accident, Adam sees Eden in a TV program sponsored by Transworld and decides to use his secret formula to gain employment and meet Eden once more.  But to win her back, he must defy gravity, confront the prejudices of the world above, regain Eden’s trust and try to make her believe the dreams she has been having were memories of their past.
The effects and production design are splendid, giving that gritty in your face feel of a hard core reality even with the obvious vignette and color corrections.  The visual effect is breath-taking with the seamless blending of fiction and fairy tale in the work.  It is obvious that this film was challenging to shoot and execute but Solanas pulled it off quite impressively, technically speaking.  This aspect made the film engaging despite its pretentious storytelling.  The story and its tempo resonate Gattaca and move too slow for comfort.  It did not help that Sturgess and Dunst both were irritatingly sugary and stilted.  You just knew from the start that they will end up with each other after the first 10 minutes so why wait another hour and forty? You can just wish there was more to the movie than just the same old love story.
Love is just so great and powerful it defies gravity—literally, in this movie, at least. Love gives hope and determination to (also literally) rise above a predicament. But more than the romantic love is the basic respect for a person not because he or she is loveable but because he is a human being regardless of class, race or social status.  The stronger and more honorable love was not between Adam and Eden but with Bob—Adam’s upper world co-worker in Transworld—who made no distinctions between the poorer and the richer world. Very subtly, the movie talks about equality, brotherhood and breaking that barrier that separates worlds and people based on what they have.
As a whole, the movie is decent and wholesome but suggestions of pre-marital sex and pregnancy outside marriage might be misunderstood by very love struck teenagers. 
(Editor’s note:  MTRCB rates this movie GP, but parents surely have a lot of explaining to do to curious kids, not only about Newton’s law of universal gravitation which all satellites and projectiles obey, but also the probability of pregnancy without sexual intercourse.  Thus it comes as a surprise (spoiler coming!) that Eden announces in the end that she’s pregnant.  Nowhere in the movie do Sturgess and Dunst go beyond prolonged and boring kissing—but hey, wait, could they have “done it” just by floating in the air while locked in an embrace?  You never know in sci-fi.  But that’s what CINEMA is trying to say here.  Upside down is science-fiction, and despite its scientific sounding opening scene laying out the fictional gravitational laws from which the story attempts to draw its claim to credibility, the storyline is burdened with inconsistent physics.  Mesmerized by the stunning visuals, intelligent kids might still wonder: Are there even sunsets or sunrises in either world?  Do the worlds revolve around a sun jointly?  Do they rotate around their individual axis synchronized?  We’re willing to grant that the makers of Upside down are trying to present an ideal society where freedom and equality reign supreme, and that a new civilization is possible through the union of Adam and Eden—the choice of their names is a giveaway—but don’t let their hypothesis turn your science upside down).

Friday, February 8, 2013

Gangster squad

CAST: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick.  DIRECTOR:  Ruben Fleischer.  PRODUCER: Dan Lin, Kevin McCormick, Michael Tadross.  SCREENPLAY:  Will Beall (based on ‘Tales from the Gangster Squad’ by Paul Lieberman.  MUSIC: Steve Jablonsky.  CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dion Beebe.  RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes.  LOCATION: United States.  DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros.

Technical assessment:  3.5
Moral assessment:  2
CINEMA Rating:  A 18
MTRCB Rating:  R 13

Gansgter Squad is set in post-war Los Angeles, USA, 1949.  A truly vile gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) wants complete control of the city, owning perennial money pots—the dope and sex trades.  To turn LA into his private empire, Cohen has got half of LA’s cops by the balls, so to speak, plus a couple of contacts in high places.  The police chief, William Parker (Nick Nolte) is hot on dousing cold water on Cohen’s fire, by all means.  So he taps another Cohen-hater, the intensely idealistic World War II veteran Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) after he proves himself incorruptible.
O’Mara handpicks the “gangster squad” who will work under the radar to bring Cohen down: fellow war veteran Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling); sharpshooter Max Kennard (Robert Patrick) and his sidekick Navidad Ramirez (Michael Pena); Afro-American tough cop Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie); and wiretapper Conway Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi).  Although off to a cartoonish start, the mystery team scores success after success in sabotaging Cohen’s establishments, getting enough media mileage to provoke Cohen into waging a full blown war against his secret, unidentified saboteurs.  Things get sticky when the slickster Wooters seduces Cohen’s babe Grace Faraday (Emma Stone)—and the two fall in love, trysting right under Cohen’s nose.
The trailer may be promising due to its stylish veneer, but don’t let that fool you.  Gangster Squad opens with Cohen’s rival chained in all fours to two cars that run off in opposite directions, tearing the guy in two, like a frog in a science lab.  Eeeeeeoow!  Expect more gore and guts spilling in most of the 113 minutes of slick killing and amusing vintage car chases.  You can’t ask anything more from a cast that features two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn (whose sterling performance, by the way, should elicit visceral reactions from the audience); three Oscar nominees (Brolin, Gosling and Nolte); and one of the sizzling-est stars in Hollywood these days, Emma Stone.  Stone’s character is thinly-drawn, though, making her look like a high school kid in homemade Laureen Bacall gowns.  Gangster Squad is fast paced, well shot, well written and should appeal to movie fans of that genre.
You have to be a hopeless or an idealistic fool to want to be part of a vigilante squad like this one.  As always with this kind of story where do-gooders are tunnel-visioned about their targeted villain, the question is: does the end justify the means?  Are their ways moral?  Legal?  Is justice served?  If you must watch it, watch it with prudence and discernment.  Immature audience will surely get lost in its tangled (un)ethical web.






Seduction

 

LEAD CAST: Richard Gutierrez, Solenn Heussaff Sarah Labhati.  DIRECTOR: Peque Gallaga. PRODUCER:  Regal Films.  GENRE:  Romantic drama.  RUNNING TIME:  105 minutes  DISTRIBUTOR:  Regal Films.  LOCATION:  Philippines

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 2
CINEMA Rating:  A  18
MTRCB Rating:  R 13

Pilit na pinagkakasya ni Ram (Richard Gutierrez) ang kinikita bilang isang bumbero subalit kapos pa rin. May malubhang sakit sa bato ang kanyang ama na kailangan ng malaking halaga upang maisalba ang buhay nito. Sa panahong higit na pangangailangan ay minalas na masuspende siya sa trabaho dahil sa ginawa nilang pangingikil sa may-ari ng hotel na nirespondehan nila upang apulahin ang sunog.  Habang suspendido ay umupa si Ram sa bahay ni Trina (Sarah Labati) na sa kalaunan ay magiging kasintahan niya. Samantala, isang mayaman na half-Filipino, half-French si Sophia (Solenn Heusaf)  na gustong magpasalamat kay Ram dahil sa pagliligtas sa kanya mula sa sunog.  Nalaman ni Sophia na suspendido si Ram at nangangailangan ng pera kaya para makabawi sa pagliligtas sa kanya ay babayaran niya si Ram ng malaking halaga upang magtrabaho sa kanya bilang driver at body guard. Subalit sa katagalan ay magiging sex partners sila at mahuhulog ang loob  ni Sophia kay Ram. Nang hindi masusuklian ni Ram ang nararamdaman ni Sophia sapagkat mas matimbang sa kanya si  Trina ay magdaramdam si Sophia sa kanya at makakaisip maghiganti.

Maganda ang mga teknikal na aspeto ng pelikula. Mahusay ang mga kuha ng camera lalo na sa mga eksena na nagpapakita ng mga tanawin at tradisyon katulad ng kasalan sa probinsya. Maingat din ang naging trato ng direktor sa mga madalas na eksena ng pagtatalik.  Medyo mahaba at nakakainip nga lang na parang walang katapusan ang mga eksena ng sunog. Nakasentro sa karakter ni Ram ang kwento bilang binata na ginamit ang matipunong katawan at magandang mukha upang katulad niya ay bumigay sa mga kahinaan sa laman ang mga babae kabilang na sina Trina at Sophia. Ipinakita sa pelikula ang iba't ibang hamon at sitwasyon na nararanasasan ng isang bumbero na inaakala ng marami na sa tuwing may sunog lamang nagtatrabaho. Tama lamang ang mga pagganap nina Gutierrez, Heusaff at Labati. Nagsikap ang direktor na mailabas ang hinihinging emosyon mula sa mga artista sa mga eksena.  Nakatulong ang suporta ng mga katulong na aktor katulad ni Jay Manalo maliban sa kanya ay tila hindi kumportable sa pagmumura ang iba pang tauhan lalo na si Ram, kaya pilit ang dating. 

Napakarangal na hanapbuhay ang pagiging bumbero. Hindi lahat ng tao ay nasa posisyon na katulad nila kung saan nakasalalay ang kaligtasan ng  maraming buhay at ari-arian ng mga tao. Subalit saglit lamang ito pinakita sa Seduction; ang mas malaking bahagi ng pelikula at mas naikintal sa mga manonoood ay ang ipinakita na ang mga bumbero na tumatanggap ng lagay, ginagamit ang katawan para makabayad ng utang, at parang mga hayok na ginagawang libangan ang panonood ng pakikipagtalik ng kasamahan. Madalas ang mga eksena ng pagtatalik  na pawang nasa konteksto ng pang-aakit at pagbibigay sa tawag ng laman ng hindi naman legal na mag-asawa. Mahinang karakter ng lalaki ang pinakita sa pelikula. Bahagyang nilagyan ng pagpapakita ng sakripisyo bilang anak para sa kaniyang maysakit na ama, pero mas nangingibabaw at nanaig ang mga kahinaan sa tukso na humantong sa walang saysay na pagbubuwis ng buhay. Sa kabuuan ay walang maihain na magandang aral ang pelikula at maaring mabahala ang isang manonood na gustong maglibang at makakuha ng magandang mensahe sa isang palabas.

Chinese zodiac


Cast: Jackie Chan, Kwom Sang-woo, Liao Fan, Yao Xing Tong, Laura Weissbecker; Director: Jackie Chan; Screenplay: Jackie Chan; Editor: Music: Roc Chen, Nathan Wong,  Producers: Jackie Chan, Stanley Tong, Barbie Tung Genre: Action Comedy; Running Time: 123 minutes; Location: France; Distributor: Star Cinema
 
Technical assessment:  2
Moral assessment:  3
CINEMA Rating: V14
MTRCB Rating: PG 13

A century ago, during the 2nd Opium War, the Brits invaded Summer Palace in China and stole most of their precious artefacts and national treasure; included were the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals bronze heads. In the present times, MP Corporation sells replicas of these precious collections to the highest bidder and commissions JC (Chan) to recover the remaining bronze heads. JC and his team travel to France where two of the bronze heads are said to have been found. He meets and eventually teams up with Coco (Tong), an idealistic Chinese woman working to return lost antiquities to her native land and Katherine (Weissbecker), the na├»ve French great great granddaughter of the invaders of the Summer Palace. In the beginning JC sees his mission as another job that will earn him a lot of money. But eventually, he realizes the importance of respecting his nation’s treasures and risks his life to save both the artefacts and the people he cares about.
Chinese Zodiac is nothing more than a vanity project for Jackie Chan. He simply cannot handle all the creative and technical demands of a decent movie and should have been advised to just simply be the lead cast. (The Guinness Book of Records named Chan MOST CREDITS IN ONE MOVIE) In fact for his stature, Chan should be more selective of the roles he accepts. Definitely not one that showcases his limited thespian skill and his aging agility. Between the exhausted and prolonged chase sequences that viewers have seen in older Chan films and the dull pontifications about the industrialized nations pillaging the weaker ones, the movie falls shamelessly on its face with confusing language switches from Chinese to English to French, a miscued framing, artistically challenged camera works, so-so scoring and a really dreadful storytelling. The gadgets are impressive but are obviously imitations of those in James Bond or Mission Impossible films. Save for the opening rollerblade chase and the ending skydiving sequences, there isn’t really much signature Chan moves the viewers can expect. Ultimately, the movie is irredeemably boring and badly made.
Respect for culture and history are romanticized yet consistently overlooked in modern times. More often, culture and history are remembered for the media opportunity and their profitability as tourist attractions.  The real deep-rooted love for heritage is lost—Chinese Zodiac had the intention of getting this message across until it was eaten in the confused creative and technical work of Chan.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The man with the iron fists


LEAD CAST: Russell Crowe, Cung Le, Lucy Liu, Byron Mann, RZA, Rick Yune, David Bautista, Jamie Chung  DIRECTOR:  RZA.  SCREENWRITER:  RZA, Eli Roth  PRODUCER:  Eli Roth, Marc Abraham, Eric Newman, Thomas   EDITOR:  Joe D’Augustine  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  RZA, Howard Drossin  GENRE:  Action/Adventure  CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Chi Ying Chan  RUNNING TIME:  96 minutes  DISTRIBUTOR:  Universal Pictures  LOCATION:  China

Technical assessment:  3
Moral assessment:  1.5
CINEMA rating:  Not for public showing
MTRCB rating:  R 18

Gold is being stored in a village, and in the basement of the local brothel. The emperor is concerned about it. The villain has killed his master for it. The master’s son arrives bent on revenge. The madam has schemes to hold on to it. The local blacksmith (a marooned American slave) makes weapons that can defend it. An Englishman rides into town and teams up with the goodies. A sinister emissary also turns up to secure the gold.  And a big man who can produce bronze armor over his skin as needed does some dastardly deeds.
The slave is the title man—who has lost his arms but has been able to produce and connect hands, arms and, especially, fists of iron while working as a blacksmith. He is played by rapper RZA who co-wrote the film with Eli Roth (Hostel) and directs. It is a Chinese production, but also presented by Quentin Tarantino (echoes of the Kill Bill films).  That outline doesn’t necessarily spoil the action for potential audiences. All that plotline does is provide the occasion for martial spectacle.—(Excerpted from Fr. Peter Malone, Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting)
CINEMA rates this movie "NPS", or Not for Public Showing. 
The Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) has rated it "R", or Restricted "for bloody violence, strong sexuality, language, and brief drug use"?  In the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website, a review is published by Catholic News Service which states,  "the film contains excessive bloody violence, gruesome images, graphic sexual activity, implied aberrant sex acts, a prostitution theme, drug use, an anti-Catholic slur, much rough language and a few crude or crass terms" and classifies it as "O"—morally offensive.
The following notes taken from various various Canadian Film Classification boards add this information to explain why The Impossible has earned their "R" rating.
Violence:
- Frequent hand-to-hand and weapons violence, with blood and detail shown.
- Explicit depictions of evisceration and dismemberment.
- Detailed gory and grotesque images.
- Frequent and prolonged portrayals of graphic violence.
- Disturbing scenes.
- Depictions of beating, shooting, stabbing, dismemberment, torture and decapitation.
Sexual Content:
- Infrequent portrayals of sexual activity with no nudity, but some detail.
- Simulated and implied sexual activity.
- Sexual references and innuendo.
- Embracing and kissing.
Language:
- Infrequent use of the sexual expletive and variations in a non-sexual context.
- infrequent use of scatological slang.
- Ethno-cultural slurs.
Drugs and Alcohol:
- Infrequent references to drug use.
- Tobacco use.

(Editor's note:  Due to a miscommunication error, the MTRCB rating on this movie was earlier cited as PG 13.  The correct MTRCB rating for "Man with the Iron Fists" is R 18).


Menor de edad

Cast:  Meg Imperial, Wendell Ramos, Ara Mina, JC Parker, Chynna HortalezaDirector:  Joel Lamangan: Screenplay: Raquel Villavicensio;  Producer: Viva Films; Running Time: 90 minutes; Genre: Drama; Location: Philippines

Technical Assessment: 2
Moral Assessment: 2
CINEMA Rating: A 18 (for ages 18 and above)
MTRCB Rating: R 13
Si Jen (Meg Imperial) ay isang 15-anyos na estudyanteng maraming pinagdadaanan sa buhay. Hindi niya nakilala ang kanyang ama at kanyang ina (Ara Mina) naman ay may kinasakasamang tomboy (JC Parker) na tumatayong padre-de-pamilya. Dahil dito’y tampulan si Jen ng tukso sa eskuwelahan kung kaya’t mapapasama na lamang siya sa isang gang ng mga kabataang babae sa kanilang lugar na kinabibilangan ng kanyang pinsan. Mapapansin ng kanilang guro sa Pilipino na si Ariel (Wendell Ramos) na tila laging malungkot si Jen at nag-iisa. Magmamagandang-loob ito na tulungan si Jen sa kanyang pag-aaral at dito magsisimula ang kanilang pagkakaibigan. Ngunit dala ng bugso ng damdaming kabataan ay magkakagusto si Jen kay Ariel.  Magsisimula ang gulo ng akusahan ni Jen si Ariel ng dimuano’y panggagahasa sa kanya.
Masyadong maraming nangyayari sa Menor de Edad.  Bagama’t naka-sentro ang kuwento kay Jen, madalas itong nagpapaligoy-ligoy sa sa napakaraming tauhan na halos wala namang kinalaman sa pinakabuod ng kuwento. Resulta’y isang pelikulang mahirap panoorin ang Menor de Edad. Isabay pa rito ang pagiging magulo ng mga kuha ng kamera na animo’y nag-iistilong moderno ngunit wala naman sa hulog ang pagkakagawa at hindi naaayon sa nais nitong iparating na kuwento. Maging ang pag-arte ng mga tauhan ay pawang stereotyped din. Walang bagong inihain maging sa script. Maraming katanungan ang nangangailangan ng kasagutan ngunit pawang di naman nararapat pang pag-aksayahan ng panahon dahil ang mismong gumawa ng pelikula ay tila hindi naman interesadong alamin kung ano talaga ang gusto nilang palabasin. Kung ang ninais nila’y magsabog ng kalituhan at pasakitin ang ulo ng mga manonood, nagtagumpay sila dito.
Hitik din sa nakababahalang moral ang pelikula sa kabila ng pagsusubok nitong talakayin ng napakaraming problema ng lipunan na nag-uugat sa kahirapan. Nariyan ang pagkunsinte nito sa relasyong homosekswal na ipinakitang katanggap-tanggap. Nariyan din ang pagtatalik ng mga kabataang menor-de-edad na ipinakikitang karaniwan na lamang. Mayroon ding “incest”, bawal na relasyon ng ama at anak na ngunit hindi rin naging malinaw ang tayo ng pelikula patungkol dito. May mapang-abusong media at may guro na lulong sa masamang bisyo at ang pinakasentro ng kuwento ay kung paanong ang kasinungalingan ay maghari sa sistema ng ating hustisya. Ang lahat ng ito ay inihain sa paraang mababaw at walang malabis na pagninilay. Walang malinaw na damdamin na nais iparating ang pelikula dahil sa magulo nitong punto-de-vista.
Walang aral na matututuhan sa Menor-de-Edad, bagkus, magiging masama lamang ang tingin ng manonood sa mundo at walang anumang kabutihan ang makakasagip dito dahil narito ang isang pelikula kung saan kasinungalingan ang naghahari, ang mga bata’y walang buting napupulot sa tahanan man o paaralan, walang Diyos na pinaniniwalaan, at ang lahat ay walang pakialam sa kinabukasan. Kung ang pelikula ay sumasalamin sa lipunan, nararapat na malaman ng manonood na ang Menor de Edad ay hindi malinaw na salamin kundi isang malabong pagtingin sa tunay na kalagayan natin. Dito sila malabis na nagkulang—sa sinseridad. Hindi naging matapat ang pelikula sa kanyang layuning magmulat dahil ang mismong binuo nila ay isang pagmamalabis at pananamantala sa kawalang-malay at muwang ng mga menor-de-edad na nagsiganap dito. Ito’y isang pelikulang hindi nila maipagmamalaki sa kanilang pagtanda. Dahil sa tema nitong sekswal, at mga eksenang nagpapakita ng karahasan, krimen, pagdo-droga at pag-inom ng alak, minamarapat ng CINEMA na ang pelikulang ito ay para lamang sa  mga manonood na hinog ang isipan, 18 gulang pataas.