REVIEW: Janella churns out moving portrayal in MMK “Cards”

A passion is something deeply rooted in your heart and soul, and something we all wish to pursue and fulfill, yet we are stifled by the realities of life that make us turn away from that passion.

But in the MMK episode “Cards”, which was originally aired in 2018, and shown last November 7 on The Best of MMK, sticking and standing for your passions has its rewards—and that goes beyond personal satisfaction and fulfillment. It also helps you achieve harmony and understanding with the people closest to you—your family.

Rosela (Janella Salvador) has long been passionate about doing magic tricks since she was a child because it had a source of amity and affection with her father Ruperto (Tirso Cruz III), who would always praise her and support her for that talent.

But when Ruperto passed on, Rosela could not get the same appreciation and affection from her mother Josie (Assunta de Rossi), who had shown sternness and harshness towards her, even as she excelled in school. She would notice unequal treatment Josie shows to her, compared to her irresponsible brother Joshua (Anjo Damiles), to whom she has been more sympathetic, lenient, and passive even with wrongdoings.

Rosela would focus more on her magical craft, dedicating more time in honing her skills while being part of her troupe. This would lead to deep resentment between mother and daughter, since Josie would frown upon Rosela’s profession, similar to the ridicule she gets from others.

Rosela would express dismay at her mother’s alienation towards her, and would reveal her life-long bitterness that whatever accomplishment she made in her life, it seemed that those never mattered to Josie. She would tell Josie that being in the magic troupe made her feel a sense of family unlike what she has experienced all her growing life with her.

Josie would then finally verbalize what she truly felt and told Rosela that she had been quite punitive towards her because she did not want her to end up like her brother. She also said she had been so repressive because of her embarrassment and frustration of not providing a decent and comfortable life for the family, especially with Ruperto’s demise.  But deep inside, Josie revealed, she has always been proud of Rosella and would accept whatever she wishes in her life, including her passion of being a lady magician.

Because of her mother’s newfound support, Rosela would continue to make a mark in her chosen path and become a noted magician in parties and events. This led to more success in her field, which eventually made her fulfilled in the passion she chose, even with her mom Josie acting as her assistant.

This was surely a heartwarming tale for everyone to appreciate, especially those who have deep passions they want to pursue, which people may deem trivial or insignificant. The message of following your heart’s desire was really glaring and substantive.

Director Raz dela Torre masterfully brought together effective creative elements that made the story so absorbing and compelling, with fascinating artist performances and superb production value.

Janella Salvador was again at her best, showing her dramatic flair every step of the way, deeply embodying  the pains and frustrations of a girl seeking her mother’s attention and acceptance, and seeking validation in the passion she chose.

Assunta de Rossi should also be greatly applauded for her subdued yet deeply rooted portrayal of a mother whose mistakes in her ties with her children were borne out from her frustrations as a widow. She needs not to deliver long, cathartic lines just to embody that character well—even her silence or loss of words speaks a lot, with her exceptional face acting and body language.

Netizens were also impressed.