The problem with a typical Filipino film is its tendency to be predictable. Given around five sequences, you will be able to guess the next scenes to happen or worse, the ending of the story without any challenge. Sa’yo Lamang is no excuse because there’s really nothing new with it. What sets it apart from the rest is the experience it offers while you involve yourself in the picture. It’s simply engaging.
Sa’yo Lamang narrates a story of a broken but seemingly happy family that is troubled one day by the arrival of the father, Franco (Christopher de Leon) who abandoned them for another woman ten years ago. Everybody seems okay with his return save for the eldest daughter Diane (Bea Alonzo) who assumed his responsibility as the head of the family when he left. Despite Diane’s objection, the mother (Lorna Tolentino) had to decide for everybody so Franco stayed. Unexpected events happened just after things started to get better that led to emotional outbursts and unraveling of secrets that will test their faith and the strength of the bond that ties them together as a family.
Sa’yo Lamang’s storytelling lacks a little of fluidity. Some scenes are inserted without a clear connection from the previous one and there are a number of times when characters shift from one extreme emotion to another extreme. It could be one disadvantage of having more than one scriptwriter. I remember one flashback scene with Lorna and Boyet which I found a bit ridiculous. I don’t really have issues with flashbacks but here, I think they could have stayed away from it or maybe they could have done it better. It was a scene that’s supposed to have the couple look 20 years younger but they didn’t appear to be like one.
Despite the flawed storytelling, the story in general is surprisingly heartwarming and inspiring. The story was definitely patterned after Tanging Yaman(2001) but unlike its predecessor, Sa’yo Lamang is more focused and more specific as its story revolves around only one family. It gives more opportunity to build fewer characters thus the viewers get to know them fully and connect with their emotions easily.
The cast is the movie’s strongest point. Star Cinema has gathered talented lead and supporting actors whose acting can suffice and compensate for the unsound aspects of the film. Indisputably, this is Bea Alonzo’s film as she stands out among the rest. She has shown great potentials in her previous roles and as Diane in Sa’yo Lamang, she is simply overwhelming and astounding. Lorna Tolentino and Christopher de Leon have undeniably mastered their craft. They can throw emotions and shift from one to another effortlessly and watching them do it, you are carried away. The supporting ensemble is nothing but estimable as well.
Many would regard this film as one of those typical Pinoy films that’s predictable and boring. I differ to that because with Sa’yo Lamang, you know what’s going to happen but it’s a surprise how every scene and the characters’ emotions significantly affect your own.