The Year I Did Nothing USA 2019

Manila, the Philippines, 1985: 15 year old Christina (Nora Lapena) learns that the application her parents (Rhandy Torresm, Maria Noble) have put in at the US Immigration Office 10 years ago is finally being processed, and as school’s to start again in a few days time, Christina persuades her parents to let her and her brother George Washington (Jared Xander Silva) and sister Elena (Faith Toledo) stay home for what’s to be their last few days in Manila. Thing is, the US immigration process moves much slower than anyone would have expected, and while not going to school sounded fun in the beginning, it soon becomes slightly boring, especially when the parents cut their allowance for the sole reason that they need to save every penny for the trip. So the three kids, plus their cousin Belinda (Bianca Buena) and Belinda’s little daughter Angeli (Rhianne Casey Ramos), are looking for creative ways to spend their time, including selling coconut juice at a street stand. But while they live their lives in the innocence of youth, big changes hit the Philippines, changes that eventually lead to the ouster of the country’s dictator for 20 years, Ferdinand Marcos …

The Year I Did Nothing is basically a film that does it right: It tells a compelling little story with much heart, but even more of a pure willingness to simply entertain. And the film manages to roll big political themes into its narrative, but without them standing in the way or taking over the plot, nor is the film’s main story too sugar-sweet to gloss over the historical context it’s set in. And the main reason this works so well is that the main characters are very relateable and believable, as are their actions and emotions. Now add to this a solid and again believable cast and a subtle directorial effort that doesn’t put too much of an emphasis on the nostalgia aspect without ignoring it, and you’ve got yourself a pretty good movie!