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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Aug 17, 2022



THE ‘12 WEEKS’ in the title refer to the first trimester which is very crucial in any pregnancy. 

The film opens with Alice (Max Eigenmann), a 40-year old single woman who works with a non-governmental organization, being interviewed in a clinic about her plan to have an abortion. 

She only discovers her pregnancy after she has thrown out her boyfriend from her apartment, Ben (Vance Larena), a band member.

The film happens during the war in Marawi when they are helping out victims of the siege who need to be evacuated. 

When her boss learns that Alice is pregnant, he forbids her to go to Mindanao considering her risky situation. 

And she couldn’t even understand why her boss is doing this. Isn’t she so bright? 

Max Eigenmann is superb in the lead role but, honestly, we cannot sympathize with her character. 

At 40, she has much difficulty making the right decisions for herself. She intends to abort the baby, then she changes her mind.  

She dumps her irresponsible boyfriend, then suddenly she sleeps with him again and accepts him back in her apartment even if it’s apparent he can be quite an asshole. 

Teka, Alice, kuwarenta ka na, ano ba talaga ang gusto mong gawin sa buhay mo?

Alice obviously had an unhappy childhood. Her mother (Bing Pimentel, Max’ mom in real life) tells her that when she was pregnant with her, she felt like aborting her as a baby. 

This must have been very traumatic for Alice. No wonder she has a very cold and distant relationship with her mother. 

She relates more with her friend, Lorna (Claudia Enriquez), who gets to knock some sense into her dumb head since she’s allergic to anything her mom tells her. 

But we know of a lot of people who didn’t have ideal relationships with their parents, and still succeeded in making something of themselves. 

Alice obviously is not made of sterner stuff as, at 40, she just doesn’t really know what to do with her life. 

In the end, she reacts vehemently to her boyfriend’s drunken driving and they nearly figure in an accident. She opts to get out of the car and starts to walk. 

It’s God who then makes the final decision for her. The Lord certainly knows she does not deserve and is ill equipped to be a mother. 

So now, she can just go back to her smoking and drinking and living an aimless life.

“12 Weeks” is the directorial debut of short film maker Anna Isabelle Matutina and she manifestly wants to show that life is not so fair to women who should make decisions about their own bodies.

But we wish she chose a more sympathetic character with lesser hang ups than Alice, who cannot even wisely select a boyfriend who’d be good enough for her and not be just a mere toxic burden.  

She's portrayed as a tragic character, but being messed up is also her own fault and should not be romanticized. Come on, honestly, would you like her to be a role model for your daughter?

The movie ends with a scene showing the mother of Alice (also played by Max) in 1977, carrying a baby in Northern Bukidnon. 

Now, that seems to be a much more interesting story to tell: the journey of Alice's mom from 1977 until now and how she joined beauty pageants at her age with her best friend (Angie Castrence), who should also explain why she is taking home all the left over dishes when Alice's mom celebrated her birthday. 

Yes, come to think of it, even the story of the best friend seems more interesting. Why does she want to haul off all that food?