Aside from the critical acclaim and Oscar buzz that Dolly de Leon has received, Tringle of Sadness feels like a film made for the times.
As the end of 2022 approaches (there are only four and a half months left!), movie studios are beginning to release films that they hope will become prestige players come awards season 2023. And among the already and potentially acclaimed movies set to release in the coming months, one in particular has gotten a lot of noise. That film is Triangle of Sadness, director and writer Ruben Östlund’s first film in five years.
Neon, the same company that help bring global success to Parasite, is releasing the film in October while local film company TBA Studios will handle the release in the Philippines. But before you dismiss Triangle of Sadness as just another awards season ploy, don’t. From potential Oscar gold for a Pinoy to its biting social commentary, here are a few reasons why Triangle of Sadness should be on your watchlist when it released in the Philippines.
IT’S “EAT THE RICH,” BUT IN FILM FORM
Pretentious is the last word you would use to describe Triangle of Sadness. Instead, it’s a comedy and drama that takes aim at how out-of-touch the rich and powerful are. The film’s plot centers on fashion model couple Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean) as they embark on a luxury cruise adventure along with other members of the uber wealthy. All appears Instagrammable and like a dream at first, but tragedy strikes when the passengers are hit with heavy seasickness during the seven-course captain’s dinner and a storm hits the boat. They soon become stranded on a desert island with just the billionaires and a cleaning lady (Dolly de Leon) to look out for each other.
In the fight for survival, this is where the movie’s commentary kicks in as the cleaning lady, who is supposed to be the hired help and the lowest among them, is seen as the most useful with her practical survival skills. Hierarchies are turned upside down as she soon leads the rich and powerful, not the other way around, given how she is the most competent among them. As seen in the film’s trailer, members of the upper echelons of society come off as out-of-touch as their accumulated wealth has made them so detached from the real world. Them being stranded on an island exposes how powerless they are without there money. The film uses dark comedy to critique and comment on today’s imbalanced world. It’s a narrative fit for the times, especially as inequality still continues to be a major concern around the world.
DOLLY DE LEON DELIVERS A MUST-SEE PERFORMANCE
Many of you may have initially heard about this film thanks to Filipino actress Dolly de Leon, and that’s for a good reason. She appears in this film as Abigail, the toilet manager of the cruise ship. Her role is meant to be an OFW considering that many Pinoys work in cruise ships all over the world. Throughout the nearly two and a half hour run time though, it is never mentioned that Abigail is from the Philippines. Ever since the film’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival back in May, de Leon has received non-stop critical acclaim.
“Every single day I would step on that set, when we were filming Triangle of Sadness, I was nervous. Every single day. Like I was opening a play. Ganoon ‘yung feeling ko. Parang aapak ka sa wings ng teatro. Ganoon ‘yung pakiramdam. Una, kasi Ruben Östlund ‘yun. Pangalawa, nilipad nila ako doon. Gumastos sila. Pangatlo, nag-audition ako at ako ‘yung napili, so ayaw kong mag-disappoint,” shared de Leon in an interview with CNN Philippines Life.
It is said that her character appears in the third act of the film and proves to be a dynamic scene stealer. Her role is so good she’s been talked about receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Variety has her in a good position to get nominated alongside actresses like Michelle Williams and Angela Bassett. Even if she doesn’t win, a nomination would be huge considering that she will be just the second actress with Filipino blood to be nominated for an acting Oscar (the first is Hailee Steinfeld).
De Leon’s hype in Triangle of Sadness feels like both a breakout moment and getting her due considering how she’s been in the industry for years. The theater actress has taken on a variety of side roles over the years and her role as Abigail is proving to be her moment in the sun. What’s special about the role, which she auditioned for in 2018, got in 2019, and shot in 2020, is that she helped shape the character alongside director Ruben Östlund.
THE FILM HAS STRONG REVIEWS
It’s not just Dolly de Leon’s performance that has received praise from critics. The movie itself has received good reviews from critics with praise for its acting, comedy, and social satire. So much so in fact that when it premiered in Cannes, the black comedy got an eight minute standing ovation before eventually taking home the Palme d’Or, the top prize of the festival and an outstanding achievement for any film. Fun fact: Dolly de Leon was actually with director Ruben Östlund when he won the Palme d’Or. (As of this writing, Triangle of Sadness has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 71% and a 77 on Metacritic.)
THE DIRECTOR IS AN ACCLAIMED FILMMAKER
Triangle of Sadness is written and directed by Ruben Östlund. And to anyone familiar with his work, his films are fine bodies of work. The Swedish native’s previous movies include the acclaimed Turist, a film about a family vacationing in the French Alps who goes through a crisis after the father leaves them behind in a fake-out avalanche. There’s also 2017’s Oscar-nominated The Square, a social commentary that follows an art curator who sets up a new exhibit on altruism that proves to be easier said than done. Most of Östlund’s films deals with characters who go through moments that challenge who they are so it’s no surprise that Triangle of Sadness also deals with rich people out of their element.
A STRONG CAST
Joining Dolly de Leon in the cast of Triangle of Sadness veterans and new stars in the industry like Hollywood star Woody Harrelson who plays the captain of the ship. Harris Dickinson, whose character Carl shares some steamy scenes with Abigail, is known for roles such as Chase Andrews in Where the Crawdads Sings, Conrad in The King’s Man, and Prince Philip in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. The rest of the cast includes Charlbi Dean Kriek, Vicki Berlin, and Zlatko Burić.