A Very Good Girl Movie Review: Revenge is Best Served Predictable

A Very Good Girl Movie Review: Revenge is Best Served Predictable


A Very Good Girl is Kathryn’s cinematic comeback along with internationally acclaimed actress Dolly De Leon that tackles a familiar tale told in a refreshing light for the Filipino audience

“Do it for Mother.” 

In four words at the beginning of the film, everything about A Very Good Girl is told. From the actions of the characters to the motivations ruling them, they all touch on mothers one way or another. At times, the matriarchal moniker should have been the title of the movie, but when you center the lens to Kathryn Bernardo and her character’s weakest and strongest points against Dolly De Leon’s Molly, the title makes the most sense.

RELATED: Kathryn Bernardo and Dolly De Leon’s A Very Good Girl Has Two Teasers

One would think that a very good girl is not one to commit revenge. Forgive and forget. Let go and move on. But when you are ruled by such determined goodness and morality, vengeance becomes an excuse to live, a drive to succeed. Philo, Bernardo’s character, has lived for this fact five years into the movie. 

Revenge through Philo’s eyes

While the dynamic sides of characters are nothing new to stories—a fact why villains are hated but more loved—it is in the protagonist’s eyes that you see the gray area of seeking justice especially in an unfair world, much less an unfair society in the country. The close up shots allow us to unwillingly look at revenge in the eyes through Philo, especially when she breaks the fourth wall and even take us to a visual representation of what she really wants to do sans her sense of reason. Those scenes could get most of us on the edge of our seats for a while, but when it does happen for the second time, you already know that that was merely from Philo’s mind. A conventional hook, but an acceptable one nonetheless. 

A Very Good Girl Kathryn Dolly movie review

In the film, we see Kathryn at her peak as an actress with the way she communicates emotion through her eyes. It’s high time that she gets this kind of material to challenge her acting prowess that, until Hello, Love, Goodbye, critics and audiences have underestimated. This critique is something that she has used as an advantage in A Very Good Girl, proving that even without dialogues, she can portray revenge, power, and mercy—individually and altogether—by just a look. With the actress effectively channeling words through her eyes, the monologue acting as a backgrounder to her identity felt unnecessary. There was already enough message that Philo’s eyes could speak, and listening to them felt like they were done for the quote worthiness and not for its genuine effect that could already be found in Bernardo’s acting. 

A Very Good Girl Kathryn  movie review

Revenge through flared fashion 

Before watching A Very Good Girl, the viewers are encouraged to dress up in their best revenge looks. For one to play the part, one must look like it. That is what Philo did every time she would penetrate into the world of Molly and attempt to shake it. 

The risk of playing with style is a conscious choice that the movie portrayed well. It highlights the disparity of fairness in the eyes of those who can afford to bend and obstruct it, those who can only think about looking good when others are concerned with survival. 

A Very Good Girl Dolly movie review

When Philo drops her chic and polished persona out of sheer panic for her situation at the latter part of the movie, it highlights how others can fashion their reality to look better in the eyes of others. During desperate times, we see our realities.

And if there is anyone who can easily wear the shoes of a character who dresses up for menace, it’s Dolly De Leon. Watching her on screen does not feel like she is playing the role. She is the role. Her performance did not have a peak moment in the entirety of the film. She went for a stable consistency with her acting, a lesson that perhaps audience themselves would need to see more and appreciate on the series and films we watch. 

Revenge as a familiar dish

A number of tales familiar to Filipinos deals with the objective of getting an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. In A Very Good Girl, it’s a mother for a mother. At one point, it almost felt like a soul for a soul, but it’s Philo’s mercy, a very good girl side of hers, we are spared with a harsh action that the desperate are forced to do in reality. 

Kathryn Bernardo movie review 2023

What the movie gets most right about its theme is its dark comedy genre, approaching the narrative with pop culture references that are fun and political at the same time, such as the neck brace way of bailing from one’s crimes committed. Vengeance becomes fun in the film while also constantly reminding those who are watching that there are always eyes looking at you. Others, yes, but the most important are your own. You know how the saying goes—the eyes are windows to your soul. 

For one who has seen revenge plots retold countless of times, what else is unwritten is the after in the ever after. Thankfully, director Petersen Vargas executes it with giving us only what we need to make us think about his latest project, and even our own projects of revenge in our heads. 

Kathryn Dolly movie review

All in all, A Very Good Girl is a brave leap that Star Cinema decided on its 30th anniversary, and thankfully, they did. Although there will be much more said about the movie by those who have yet to see it, one thing is for sure—this is also Kathryn Bernardo’s vengeance to those who still doubt her as an actress. Only, just like her character, she does it with so much mercy that more than being moved by her performance, we get to say, “She has mothered.” 

Photos: STAR CINEMA (via Instagram and YouTube)

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