Islands – Reel Asian 2021

A film still from Islands of two people on a living room sofa looking through an album of old family photographs. Both have black hair and tan skin.

Islands – Reel Asian 2021

Joshua, a shy middle-aged Filipino immigrant, has lived in the comfort of his parents’ home his entire life. As their health declines he longs for a partner, terrified of being alone after they pass.

A middle-aged Filipino man fears for the future after the death of his mother in . Joshua (Joshua) is a Filipino-born man on the cusp of 50, who still lives at home with his parents Alma () and Reynaldo (), who believe that the incredibly shy Joshua will never follow in the footsteps of his brother Paolo () in getting married and raising a family. When Alma suddenly dies in an accident, Joshua quits his job as a janitor to take care of his father, whose health has begun to decline. Overwhelmed with the task of taking care of himself and Reynaldo, Joshua ends up recruiting the help of his cousin Marisol (), who is temporarily visiting Canada.

Islands is a family drama and the feature film debut for writer/director Martin Edralin. The story centres around middle-aged Filipino man Joshua, who has never really known life outside of his parents' care and fears that he will become lonely when they are gone. When his cousin Marisol comes to Canada from Kuwait for his mother's funeral, Joshua ends up inviting her to help take care of his ailing father and ends up developing a bit of an infatuation with her over the course of her stay.

As someone on the cusp of forty and still living with his parents, I can probably say that I relate somewhat to Joshua's situation in Islands as someone who is incredibly shy and has fears about being lonely. Of course, I wouldn't go as far and develop feelings for my cousin, which was a very predictable plot progression once the character of Marisol is introduced and she is invited to stay with Joshua. Of course, Islands doesn't overstep familial boundaries too much and is ultimately a solid “coming of middle age” drama.

Islands is streaming as part of the virtual 2021 Reel Asian Film Festival

Trailer for Islands – Reel Asian 2021

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.