Monday, May 20, 2024

Who We Become movie review & film summary (2023)

Told through the lens of three young Filipina-American women living in Texas, each attempting to build a bridge of mutual understanding with their parents and their community at large, “Who We Become” begins during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each subject films themselves talking to people in their lives, in person or via video calls, about the 2020 election, the Black Lives Matter movement, or the rise in hate crimes against people of Asian descent in the United States. Social media posts and videos the girls use to bring awareness to these issues are interspersed, as the screen often splits into two or more segments to infuse the collection of self-documented clips with liveliness.

Central to Raval’s brisk project is the concept of kapwa, a word in Tagalog for the interconnection between human beings. Not only does the term apply to the meaningful intersectionality that unites oppressed peoples, but to the protagonists’ efforts to engage with those closest to them in their own terms, to find common ground. For Monica Silverio, who decided to participate in protests in response to the murder of George Floyd, this means not dismissing her mother’s desire to pray for all the Black lives lost to police brutality. Mom won’t march, and she disapproves of Monica’s involvement in the demonstrations, but spiritually acknowledging the injustice is meeting her halfway.

Lauren, for example, initially frowns upon how her extended family chooses to still gather despite warnings that this can increase the spread of the diseases. Her stance softens after she manages to cut through her loved ones’ tendency to not speak about their feelings and learns that coming together helps her parents, aunts, and uncles to cope with their unspoken pain. Still, some ideological concerns are much harder to broach. Monica fears many Filipinos around her might be inclined to vote for Trump solely based on his pro-life platform. In one of the most uncomfortably confrontational exchanges, her father, a devout Catholic, laments that higher education brainwashed her into becoming a liberal.

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HomeReviewsWho We Become movie review & film summary (2023)

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