Its simple yet captivating story line has drawn me to watch the movie. It spreads special needs awareness as much as it encourages support and acceptance towards these exceptionally-abled individuals, and it is about a young adult with Down syndrome aspiring to be an action star and doing his best to attain his dream with the help of his family. I end up appreciating the film and am inspired that it is possible for individuals with special needs to reach their own dreams, as long as they feel encouragement and support from their loved ones, and they have the guts to grasp their pot of gold with their own means. Star na si Van Damme Stallone also presents the family’s challenges in accepting VanVan, which fortunately enough, his family ends up doing.
The film tries to convey acceptance through the scenes where Vanvan ends up being accepted by each of his family members. His mother accepts him the most by encouraging him to pursue his dreams in becoming an action star, and also by taking care of him and teaching him survival life skills at adult age, despite having the initial difficulty in accepting him, as she tried to drown Vanvan as a baby while giving him a bath after she learned about his condition. This provide a glimpse of hope that despite struggles, there is still room for acceptance towards exceptionally-abled individuals. With Vanvan’s family as role models to families, friends, loved ones and other people in the world of a special needs individual, the film encourages and inspires them to do the same.
There is hope for special needs individuals to pursue their goals, to function and contribute in society. This is made possible when their loved ones believe in them, just as how Vanvan’s family believes in Vanvan and helps him in making it through the film industry by being part of the shoot. Although Vanvan does not end up being an action star as the audience predicts and instead becomes one of the extras or part of the special participating casts, he can still be considered to reach his dream, for he gains the opportunity to work with the stars. It must be a blessing for him to play alongside Jasmine Curtis, his idolized celebrity, which is considered a rare occasion for a regular person.
The title of the film provides the idea that VanVan will end up being an action star as he has always dreamed of, making the audience predict that it will happen. It also implies that he is already a star in his own despite his condition, and therefore highlights that a person with special conditions has abilities, talents and skills that can help him or her build himself or herself. Likewise, the exposure of Paolo Pingol and Jadford Dilanco, both portraying Vanvan respectively as adult and child, highlights the potential that a similar individual can have, proving that he or she can shine despite the different learning needs. The talents of these two actors have also been brought to a different level, from being picked as a supporting role (Paolo) and a new actor in the making (Jadford) to landing main roles.
Last but not the least, the following are the aspects that makes this masterpiece worth tuning to besides being a beacon of acceptance and support. The film is heartwarming as much as it is entertaining, providing several emotional feels that involves laughter and tears. The acting is overall natural and Candy Pangilinan’s has been brought into a different level, being a comedy actress portraying a dramatic role. The areas of improvement lie in too much focused scenes, leading the entire movie to be dragging.
I would recommend this movie as an educative tool to increase special needs awareness and encouragement, support and acceptance towards differently-abled individuals. Individuals with special needs, their families, friends, teachers and therapists, as well as schools and therapy centers, are the first target audience, for they know more about special needs and the awareness starts from them.
Title (translated) Van Damme Stallone is already a star
Release Date March 16, 2016 (initial release); August 16, 2017 (for Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino)
Directed By Randolph Longjas
Starring Candy Pangilinan, Acey Aguilar, Mara Marasigan, Isaac Aguirre, Paolo Pingol, Jadford Dilanco
Genre Drama, Dramatic Comedy
Length 97 min
A young man diagnosed with Down syndrome aspires to be an action star and with the help of his family, is able to pursue his dream.
Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars (9/10)