#Cinemalaya2019 | ‘John Denver Trending’ Review: The Most Important Film of 2019 So Far

Directed by Arden Rod Condez

The most important film of 2019 so far. Those are definitely big words to say but as of writing, I’m still shaking, still full of pain and anger, John Denver Trending shook me to the core.

The film tackles relevant issues today: bullying, social media, religion, police brutality and mental health. So, in a way, it can also be an advocacy film. But its take  on its advocacies aren’t hard sell, it sticks to its story, it sticks to the emotional journey of its characters which makes the film engaging from start to finish.

What I like the most about the film is that it’s smart, focused and well-acted. First time actor Jansen Magpusao and Meryll Soriano became one of the most memorable mother-and-son tandem on the big screen. As the film also emphasizes a mother’s love, you get to have this strong connection with the two.

It’s an experience. Right after its turning point, you feel you’re part of what seems to be a series of mess. And what resulted to that mess are people judging and adding gas to a fire that’s already spreading wildly. You get to be in the middle of that mess, of that fire. And it’s probably one of the worst feelings you could ever have.

This is the first film of Arden Rod Condez and it’s amazing how focused his storytelling is. How effective and how brilliant he delivers his messages through this film. And I applaud him for that.

There are a lot of ways or words I want to say about John Denver Trending but they aren’t enough. I was walking my way to the bus stop after watching, processing, absorbing the film. It may sound bad but I was frustrated by the film. Frustrated by how good it is and frustrated by how it affected me. I was cursing ‘T*ng*na! Ang ganda!’ on my mind. I can’t stop talking about it with my friends, praising it, recommending it.

I hope this film gets to be recognized by more people nationwide and worldwide. This deserves to be seen by more people outside its Cinemalaya run.

Cinemalaya John Denver Trending Poster



‘John Denver Trending’ is now showing at CCP Theaters and select Ayala Malls Cinemas and Vista Cinemas. An official entry to the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

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