Review Roundup: Musical Film YELLOW ROSE, Starring Eva Noblezada and Lea Salonga
Diane Paragas' new musical film YELLOW ROSE premiered at opening night of Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) on May 2. The film took home the Grand Jury Prize, according to Variety. Eva Noblezada also took home the award for Breakthrough Performance.
The film stars Tony winner Lea Salonga and Tony nominee Noblezada. The film is written, directed, and produced by Paragas.
Yellow Rose tells the story of a 17-year old Filipino American girl from Texas who secretly dreams of becoming a country music star of old. When her mom is arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, she runs away and is forced to embark on a journey to forge her own path or face deportation with her mother back to the Philippines. The film features original music composed and performed by the cast and director.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter: Noblezada's tender, honest performance bolsters this refreshing perspective as Rose, facing mounting setbacks, repeatedly returns to her music and the inspiration it provides. With the support of country singer-songwriter Watson (playing himself), Rose learns to follow her instincts and believe in the power of her talent to transform lives, most crucially her own, as she faces the many obstacles in the life of an undocumented immigrant. Salonga's supporting turn proves all too brief, but her presence recalls her many memorable roles (Aladdin, Mulan) as a leading Filipino American performer.
Mae Hamilton, Character Media: Although she's better known for her Broadway performances, Noblezeda wonderfully portrays the complexities of a day-dreaming, teenage girl facing issues that would be difficult for even an adult to figure out. Salonga, an esteemed actress within the Filipino community, emerged from a 24-year long retirement from the silver screen just to be in Paragas' film. Her convincing performance as the dislikeable Gail will likely set teeth on edge. Priscilla Garcia (Punazalan), aka Rose's mom, walks a fine line between heartwarming and heartbreaking. In between lectures on the dangers of hanging out with boys alone, viewers will catch her gazing lovingly at her daughter. There's a genuine, motherly love that shines between Rose and Priscilla.
Alan Ng, Film Threat: I mentioned Eva Noblezada's performance before, but it needs to be brought up again. First, the writing and development of her character is spot on. Rose is not portrayed as a cowering victim, constantly on the run. She has her own complexities, primarily pride. While she does some running from ICE agents, it's her friends and family who do most of the chasing with a chorus of "Rose, come back..." She's a young woman who refuses to be a burden to anyone, to beg for help, and possibly has serious trust issues too.