A wholesome family movie with a moppet star and tearjerker ending, “Magnifico” milks the sentiment like an industrial dairy machine on overdrive. A critical fave in its home territory where pic’s clean-cut story — about a good-hearted poor kid who only wants to do the best for his family — forms a contrast to the more adult-oriented fare usually on offer locally, this could do modest biz abroad in areas with large expat Filipino populations, plus perhaps some Latin American and Mediterranean territories attuned to soap opera.
Title character (Jiro Manio), a young boy living in the rural area of Laguna, finds his grand name a burden, especially since his parents consider him a bit dim. Mom (Lorna Tolentino) never stops fretting about money, so when grandma (Gloria Romero) is diagnosed with incurable cancer, Magnifico starts to build her a coffin from scratch. His other project is selling juice to raise enough cash for a wheelchair so his cerebral palsy-afflicted sister (Isabella de Leon) can visit the local carnival. Lush tropical setting dilutes the general slushiness, though there’s no getting round the all-out tragic ending.