Rod Marmol’s ‘Cuddle Weather’ pushes its bold narrative enough to pull out an entertaining film with a provocative subtext.
Through its high-concept, dominantly intelligent writing, and bravado-filled performances, Cuddle Weather manages to shed much light on the struggles of being a sex worker in the country.
The narrative is mostly seen through the experiences of Adela, a long-time prostitute in utter desperation to start a new life but is seemingly held back by her desire to be with her ex-partner and client. In an almost run-down motel, she meets Ram, a neophyte sex worker who insistently begs her to become his sempai, for him to learn techniques in selling himself to clients, in order to earn larger amounts of money.
She turns him down multiple times, only to come across him again when she becomes desperate to find someone to cuddle with, who won’t be aroused by her body. He succeeds in doing that, and so she takes him in her place, and there starts to blossom the romance between the two of them.
More often than not, the film is an effective, and painful reconstruction of the daily lives of sex workers as they struggle to swallow their pride and be looked down upon by the people around them. From its opening sequence that is Adela’s monologue, the film is with a firm grasp to the character, giving enough depth for us to care and root for her.
In multiple occasions, Adela and Ram’s clients belittle them for being a mere pokpok. It’s seen that the latter still manages to shrug off the words, but the former, on the other hand, walks out, or goes into a raging fit. This gives a clear-cut view of her experience of loss of self-worth, and her wanting to get out of it to regain all the worth that she’s lost.
Adela’s melancholy is effectively evoked by Sue Ramirez, as she exerts so much effort in giving life to the character of Adela. RK Bagatsing portrays Ram with much nuance, channeling authenticity to his character. From his excessive lines to express his giddiness and insistence, to his lack of dialogue to express all the pain and anguish he’s hiding, all are made apparent through his micro-expressions.
However, the film suffers from having its direction and writing be a little tame, despite its literally and figuratively bold concept. In this film, prostitution is shown to be without diversity, as the two leads are only portrayed to do their work heterosexually. Neither of them are actually seen to be entertaining clients that are of the same sex. What it does instead, is try to make up for its derelictions by developing the romance between the two leads, so much so, that the narrative turns a little too saccharine for its own good during the third act of the film. In return, it doesn’t maximize its capacity to delve deeper into the psyche of both of its leads.
These flaws aren’t necessarily bad. In the way Cuddle Weather tells its narrative, it triumphs to be an entertaining crowd-pleaser and an effective exploration on the reality of sex work. The film isn’t just one to entertain, but is also one that is heavily substantial.