I felt guilty after my initial ‘review’ was linked by a few blogs, including the official G&G site as a… erm proper review/ ulasan. I read and re-read it and felt bad because it seemed sparse, lack of depth; lack of many things in fact. When I first wrote it, I was trying to talk about the movie without giving away too much; I mean I personally hate to read reviews with spoilers, sometimes they defeat the purpose of going to the cinema, the ‘surprise-me’ element was totally gone. After all, I went to watch the movie without expectations; I didn’t even know much about the storyline. I feel that it’s the best way to watch ANY movie.
But the guilt feeling has been prevalent for a few days and I decided that it’s time to do something about it, this time with spoilers. And I’ll be a bit more honest and critical, my apologies if it offends.
The Storyline: Putri (Nur Fazura) is your typical college kid who seems to have everything going for her, until one day her boyfriend Eddy (Ashraf Sinclair) decides to dump her for a more independant and self-reliant girl. Determined to win back Eddy, Putri decides to play futsal – Eddy’s favourite sport, and prove to him that she is worthy to be part of his world. Along the way she meets Shasha (Sazzy Falak) the obligatory biatch who (surprise surprise) turns out to be Eddy’s new squeeze, Zie (Rafidah Abdullah) the futsal mentor-to-be and a host of other chicks who would later be part of the ‘Bukan Team Biasa’ futsal team, captained by Putri. This journey undertaken by Putri to win back a lost love turns out to be a path of self-discovery leading to new friends, renewed self-confidence and a new man.
The first thing that strikes me is the simplicity of the storyline. It reminds me of a few teen-movies offered by Hollywood, the most obvious being ‘Legally Blonde’. I read somewhere that the director Bernard Chauly makes no excuse for the seemingly fluffy plot, saying that it was meant to be a cross between ‘Legally Blonde’ and ‘Bend It Like Beckham’. I suppose in a lot of cases the more simple the storyline the better, some messages are best handed out that way. I’m sure we have all been subjected to one too many movies who try to ‘dizzy-fy’ us with complicated twists and turns and end up making a mess of the whole production.
The main message of the movie is fairly straightforward – the self-discovery of a growing up teenager in our society today. The movie is peppered with dialogues and anecdotes that most of us can relate to, some which we may have pushed aside or forgotten about. I particularly like the development of one of the girls whose boyfriend is very vocal about her appearance and in the end got what he deserves (well, not quite but at least that’s the end of the relationship for him). I have friends who were (and still are) in such relationships; personally I think it’s time that someone or something with the power to influence (such as movies etc) say it loud and clear that no, it’s not ok to be demeaned that way. And no, it’s not ok for girls to do it to their guys either.
Then there’s the other issue which I previously mentioned; illegal family lovin’. Jiji (Sharifah Amani, forever branded as the ‘Sepet’ girl) went through the episode which none of us hope would happen to any of our loved ones; or anyone for that matter. The way I felt it was portrayed in the movie was that if more people stood up for what’s right and wrong, the perpetrator would be cowered into taking a step back, however slight it may be. Not much was said in the movie about the affair (as in verbal lines but who knows the censor board’s stand on this!), but the fact that it is highlighted and acknowledged as a seriously wrecked problem is commendable.
Also much attention is given to the prejudice faced by females who is passionate about futsal. It’s undeniable that a lot of people especially chicks get into football because of ‘cute good looking footballers’, which puts a massive dent into the credibility of those who truly love the game. Same thing with futsal; female players get judged even before they touch the ball. I suppose in our society it will always be a problem so it’s a good thing that little things like this movie paints a positive picture of female athleticism.
Nur Fazura as Putri… it is not difficult to empathise with her character, even if we were never in her position in life and such. As for her portrayal, I suppose it was OK; not exceptionally outstanding nor shabby though I feel that she is easily outshone by Sazzy Falak.
I was really impressed by Sazzy Falak; I have never heard of her nor seen her in any shows but I thought that her performance was rich and full of nuance. She carried out her role very well but I thought it was a pity that her character was not given the chance to fully develop ala Selma Blair as Vivian Kensington in Legally Blonde.
Rafidah Abdullah (the scriptwriter of G&G and one of the 3R trio) was pleasant to watch; at the end of the movie I wanted to be her friend! Zie was very much the pillar of strength in the movie and I thought that Rafidah brought out the best of her character. Ida Nerina needs no introduction, she’s a natural. Melissa Maureen Rizal (the PONDS ad girl) as Putri’s best friend was sweet and supportive, you can’t go wrong with that. J the tomboy and the girl who was constantly brought down by her boyfriend, both roles were brought out strongly by the actresses. As for other actors and actresses, I thought that some of their performances were stiff and unnatural.
There were some things that were not explained even though they were given a fair amount of airtime. One as I said was Shasha, who during a heated argument with Zie said that even though they had been friends for a long time, “…. kau memang tak faham aku.” Near to the end of the movie, she was among those who admonished Jiji’s father, revealing a side to her that was never shown before. However there was no mention of what Zie ‘tak faham’ – it would have been nice to know; a broken family ke, a well-meaning but totally kiasu parent that urged her to further develop her competitiveness ke, etc.
And Putri’s recurring dreams about being caught in a scoring match between her and Shasha. The last dream scene showed a bicycle ‘guarding’ Putri’s net, Shasha scoring the goal that felled the bicycle, then… nothing. I know lah that the bicycle could mean Putri’s new man being on her side for he prominently rides a bicycle in the movie, but a bit not smooth lah the sequence.
IMHO the sponsored products plugging were a tad too much. If I were to make a comparison, I would say ‘Minority Report’ plugged certain brands quite well – essential but in the background. In G&G they seemed like blatant advertisements at times. Of course it’s necessary to plug the sponsors, being a low-budget movie and all, but sometimes the extra air time could have gone to further developing the characters or story.
All in all, ‘Gol & Gincu’ is well worth the watch. Despite it being a light-hearted flick, it gave me quite a few things to think about, mostly regarding Malaysian movies, youth culture and highlighting social problems.
I think that for a long time, many Malaysian movies will be compared to ‘Sepet’. It may or may not be fair, but the truth is that ‘Sepet’ broke a lot of boundaries and made Malaysians take further interest in our local productions. It seems to be that Malaysians, regardless of race will watch a Malaysian movie, as long as it is honest and relatable to all of us. G&G is not far from that but may alienate certain groups of audience as it could be deemed as ‘too modern’ or only applicable to the ‘rich college type’. Well that is young Malaysians today for you. You can choose to either close one eye and pretend that everything is hanky-dory, or try to understand and play an active role in our changing society.
Also, do you think that ‘Sepet’ may have paved the way for more indie film makers to revert mainstream? I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all, it just means better exposure especially if the offering is good. You do have to agree that a lot of our local mainstream movies are not very… up to standard, I don’t think I need to spell things out lah. Thailand and Singapore make pretty good home-grown movies, there is no reason why Malaysia cannot achieve the same level. I’m just wondering if it’s the powers-that-be (snip snip snip) that is holding us back, the influence of less-than-competent people wielding big guns to monopoly the mainstream media (no names) or what? I read that there are many independent Malaysian film makers who are making it big overseas but not very well-known in our own shores. Why is that so yah? Is it the recurring notion that you can only make it big back home if you made it big in other countries?
Thoughts thoughts thoughts, more things to ponder upon. I’ll be taking more interest in our local film industry, that’s for sure. For now, enjoy ‘Gol & Gincu’.