Coming out of the closet at 84 years old and letting the cruel world know about the love of your life is something unusual, whether in a fictional or a nonfictional world. The plot of Rainbow’s Sunset revolves around the eminent 84-year old Ramon Estrella (portrayed by Eddie Garcia), a former vice mayor and a senator, and his cancer-stricken best friend turned lover, Alfredo Veneracion (portrayed by Tony Mabesa), both unafraid to show the world their love—at the sunsets of their lives. Trouble was, Ramon is married to Sylvia (portrayed by Gloria Romero) and they have three children: Emman (portrayed by Tirso Cruz III), Georgina (portrayed by Aiko Melendez), and Marife (portrayed by Sunshine Dizon), and the three are united by their disapproval against a Ramon-Alfredo-Sylvia love triangle—because of their ages, the prominent status of their family, and of course, the homosexuality that will be presented before the eyes of the people.
During this time and age where romance films are dominated by young and millennial A-list actors and/or love teams like “KathNiel”, “JaDine”, and “LizQuen”, this film begs to differ. The writers and producers could have simply chosen to cast younger celebrities in order to attract younger audiences and the “fandoms”, but they did not; I mean imagine a Daniel Padilla and a James Reid or an Enrique Gil and a Tony Labrusca love team—those would easily create a media buzz and rake in millions for the producers. A-list actors were still cast for the film’s lead roles, only difference is that they are octogenarians. But make no mistake about it, for Eddie Garcia, Tony Mabesa, and Gloria Romero are veterans in the industry who can still run circles around the younger generation of actors and more importantly, the octogenarians can still give the youngsters a run for their money. The supporting actors: Tirso Cruz III, Aiko Melendez, and Sunshine Dizon, were all tailor-made for the film and as expected from their pedigree, gave justice to their roles.
As a member of the LGBT community myself, the film hits close to home. I have no qualms whatsoever about the acting, because I am really impressed with all the actors and the perfect word for them would be “powerful”. I, however, found the storyline weak and incoherent but ironically, it had potential. The storytelling was consistent at first but as the film went on, I found some parts of the story irrelevant and I think they were just put there to serve as fillers in what is supposed to be a story filled with potential. Case in point, the part where Emman and his brother-in-law conspired in committing illicit activities under the nose of Georgina who happens to be the mayor. In addition, young actor Albie Casiño was also present in the film as Marife’s younger boyfriend and trouble was, he just suddenly disappeared after a physical altercation.
Despite finding the storyline flawed, I loved how the film fights for the LGBT community—as I have said, it hits close to home. For example, when Ramon said that he does not care what the people will say and when Marife said that love is in many forms and that love is love, and it sees no gender or any other social construct. Furthermore, the scenes where Ramon takes care of Alfredo brought me to tears for I saw myself there, unless I will die young and single. It must be tough and painful to be a Sylvia Estrella in real life, for you’re only a point five, a one-half, because you share the number one spot with someone else. The cherries on top were the kissing scenes which I found heartbreaking albeit artistic and powerful in execution.
During this day and age where the cacophony of bigotry and hatred are still strong, the fight for acceptance and equality should remain steadfast and universal. Rainbow’s Sunset is far from perfect but this film is still something worthy of support despite of the stronger presence of its more mainstream competitors. And no, it is not a film that should only be watched by members of the LGBT community for our allies will surely appreciate it. I even recommend that this film be watched by the bigot, by the ignorant, and by the hateful, for they need to see the struggle and be enlightened with the fact that being gay is not a choice. Again the film is flawed, but like a rainbow, it is beautiful.
Photo Credit: Cinema ’76 Film Society