SARS Movie: The Homecoming

This 2003 movie is very timely today because of the NCOV scare. The Homecoming is the story of an OFW who comes home from Toronto, Canada to prepare for her wedding. Initially unknown to her, she becomes the virus carrier that costs her youngest brother’s life and the persecution of the townpeople.

It happens everywhere; people associate themselves with people who have money, fame, connection and fortune. In Abigail Edades’ case, she is regarded as San Isidro’s benchmark when it comes to improving one’s quality of life. A caregiver in Toronto, Canada, she becomes the family’s breadwinner for five years but nothing much has changed in terms of her family’s life when she comes back home for her wedding. Her mother is always grumpy and complaining about money, her father has a new family, her younger brother is into drugs. But anyway, she seems to be the town’s idol and they only have good words about her— the teacher who influences her students to go abroad just like Abby, her mothers’ friends who dine with them for her homecoming, her future mother-in-law who looks excited about going to Canada and her seemingly timid fiance who looks nervous all the time.

Disaster strikes and she is positive with SARS, her fiance leaves her and her youngest brother dies. Abby mourns alone in the quarantine section of the San Lazaro Hospital. She learns about Noel’s demise while watching the television. Back at home, her mother and younger brother face further discrimination when San Isidro is put into quarantine. Her father’s live in partner leaves him. Her happy homecoming turns into a nightmare.

While slowly accepting what happens to her and her family, she comes to understand the importance of quarantine and feels sympathetic about the situation of the doctors and nurses in San Lazaro. After her quarantine period, she tries to rebuild her life but her employer does not want her to return after learning about her confinement.

The good outcome is the realization that above anything else, it is one’s family that is the most important thing a person can ever have. Her parents reconcile, her younger brother quits drugs, she faces her ex-fiance and tells him that she doesn’t want him anymore.

Alessandra de Rossi is undoubtedly the indie film princess. You will fall in love with her character the moment she internalizes her role. But The Homecoming also has Elizabeth Oropesa and Bembol Rocco who shine in their respective scenes. My most favorite scene is the church scene wherein husband and wife finally reconcile. The emotion is just too much! Lester Llansang and Brian Homecillo are also effective and I wonder why they are not actively acting anymore.