Philip’s, directed by debutant Alfred Kurian Joseph, is a movie that comes from the same team that made the 2019 movie Helen. While Alfred served as a co-writer in that Mathukutty Xavier film, here, Mathukutty is in the role of the co-writer. Even though the roles have been swapped between the two, in terms of the treatment and feel of the movies, both Philip’s and Helen are pretty similar. Both are ultimately trying to be in that feel-good space, but not through an easy path. While Helen had the advantage of being a survival thriller, Philip’s is closer to the idea of a family. Hence, it depends too much on moments rather than a central event.
The movie is about Philip and his family. His eldest son Basil works in an IT firm, and his daughter Blessy is in Plus Two. Philip has a third child Bitty, who is ten years younger than Blessy. The kids lost their mother in a car accident when Bitty was only two years old. Because of that, all sorts of dysfunctionality are there in that family. What we see in Philip’s is this family’s response when an unprecedented tragedy shakes them up completely.
What is good about Philip’s is that it’s not an overtly sugary feel-good drama that one might find toxically positive. The hurdles in front of the family have palpable pain associated with it. You would empathize with each character at various points in the movie. But the issue is the predictability of the script. Certain plot points and scripting tropes in a way announce to the audience that please do give attention to us, we are all going to play a role in a later stage of this movie. And when all those ingredients started to show up in the film’s second half, even though it wasn’t inducing any kind of cringe, the charm was sort of missing.
Mukesh is in a humorous element in the movie’s first half, and he gets to be a bit more vulnerable and gets pushed out of his comfort zone in the second half. Somewhere, I felt some of the mumbling dialogues that refer to his own dialogues from films and life went overboard. Noble Babu Thomas, as Basil, was fine being the elder son with suppressed emotions. But in the scenes where Basil loses the cool, the performance is a bit shaky. Navani Devanand, was really impressive as Blessy. She is the narrator of the story, and she has portrayed a wide range of emotions of that character in a minimal way. Quinn Vipin, as the introverted Bitty, was also good in her role. Even though it wasn’t a challenging role by any means, it was good to see Innocent getting a character that felt like a tribute to the actor.
Alfred had mentioned in the interviews that this is a feel-good family drama, and from the very first visual, the tone is inclined towards making it a more pleasant experience. The usage of colors in the frames, the static and gentle camera movements, etc., establish the lighter mood of the movie to the audience in a subconscious way. On a scene order level, the architecture of the script is pretty convincing as it gives an even priority to the multiple characters who are in the limelight. But when it comes to the detailed script, there is a lack of newness in how things are getting presented. The motivational bits and the gradual recovery are not really creating the same excitement Hisham Abdul Wahab’s tracks managed to attain.
Philip’s is not a creatively lazy film. Despite being that slightly escapist “positive” film, there is a texture of realness to some of the tracks in the movie. Even the movie’s ending focuses on a sense of hope rather than claiming they all lived happily ever after. If the presentation of the sweet twists in the second half had a fresher approach, Philip’s would have been a flawless attempt.
Philip's is not a creatively lazy film. Despite being that slightly escapist "positive" film, there is a texture of realness to some of the tracks in the movie.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended