MMFF 2023 'Firefly': Movie review

MMFF 2023: ‘Firefly,’ a movie that illuminates one’s childhood wounds

/ 11:56 AM December 22, 2023

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MMFF 2023: 'Firefly,' a movie that illuminates one’s childhood woundsMMFF 2023 Firefly official movie poster | Image: GMA Pictures

MMFF 2023 Firefly official movie poster | Image: GMA Pictures

The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2023 entry “Firefly” is a film that touches on different themes, from coming-of-age, to family, to friendship. It follows a little boy’s adventure to find an island, as told in his mother’s stories. It is a movie that taps into one’s many emotions, predominantly the sentimentality of one’s childhood.

With its magic to move the audience to tears, “Firefly” perfectly captures a trauma experienced from the point of view of a child and how they are equipped to heal from it in the ways that they know how. It is a story about grief, bravery, and finding family, most importantly, a story of finding your light, losing it, and then finding it again.  

Angeli Atienza’s writing manages to give the overfamiliar narrative of the love between a mother and a child a creative yet simple telling that leaves a memorable impression on the viewers. The duo of Neil Daza and Benjamin Tolentino, mainly the team behind the production, provides an execution out of a fairytale book, camera shots that immersively take the audience through the beautiful scenery of the Philippines, and nostalgic music that you know every lyric and hum to because it is a song you keep hearing as a child.


With director Zig Dulay’s ability to command, the cast played their part effectively: Euwenn Mikaell as a newcomer that offers a promising future if properly utilized; Alessandra De Rossi, whose dramatic chops need no introduction; Ysabel Ortega, who is a delight to watch; Miguel Tanfelix, who has a knack for tackling a snobbish persona. Yayo Aguila, Epy Quizon, and Cherry Pie Picache complete the stellar lineup whose presence in the film are very much felt.

But the standouts are Dingdong Dantes and Max Collins, who perfectly demonstrate the dynamics between a storyteller and a listener despite their little screen time. Dantes’ subtle expressions are complemented by Collins’ ability to empathize, which makes the audience wish that they were given more parts but at the same time feel satisfied with their initiative to make their scenes worthwhile.

It’s true that “Firefly” is a love letter to the storytellers. But it is also agreeable that it is a love letter to the appreciators of the arts. The people who loved to be told bedtime stories when they were children. The people who take a piece of the people they love everywhere they go, may it be a picture inside their worn-out wallet or a tattoo named after someone once important to them, are the people who prove that grief is a testament to love.

People are not measured by the achievements they accomplished when they were alive, but one’s legacy lies in the stories they leave behind. “Firefly” informs their viewers that they are a tale worth telling everyone about.

“Firefly,” along with nine other MMFF entries, will start showing in local cinemas from December 25 to January 7.

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TAGS: 2023 MMFF, Alessandra De Rossi, Dingdong Dantes, MMFF

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