Experience the Magic of “Firefly”: A High Five Movie Review

by Arns Santiago
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The annual Metro Manila Film Festival returns with an impressive lineup of 10 original Filipino movies. Among the 10 official entries is GMA Pictures and GMA Public Affairs flagship film Firefly, which tells the story of Tonton as he goes on a journey to the mystical “Island of Fireflies” from his mother’s bedtime stories.

And if you’re wondering why this film took home three major awards (Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Child Performer) at the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival Gabi ng Parangal last December 27, here is our spoiler-free High Five review of Firefly.


Enticing visuals and superb production


Photo from GMA Public Affairs YouTube Channel

The landscapes of the film are breathtaking. From the beautiful Mayon volcano to the beaches and scenic views of Sorsogon – this film doesn’t fall short on places that will leave you in awe. The CGI was also well-executed and maintained the storybook aesthetic throughout the film, which made Firefly feel like a story from a children’s book come to life. The musical score was also top-tier, especially during poignant scenes, and the cinematography did a superb job capturing the beauty of the locations and the film’s narrative. 

In the words of Orlando Royce who watched the film at Eastwood Cinemas, “It’s a well-made Pinoy family film.”


Empowering Themes 

Firefly Alessandra and Euwann

Photo from GMA Public Affairs YouTube Channel

In Firefly, Elay (Alessandra De Rossi) constantly shares stories about magical creatures and places with her son Tonton (Euwenn Mikael.) Though her stories are rooted in fantasy, they also convey empowering themes that are meant to inspire her son.

Much like Elay’s stories, Firefly is not only rich in fantastic visuals but also in themes that can change your perspective on life. It will teach you to dream beyond the sky. It will remind you of the value of family and friends. It will inspire you to be brave even in the face of your greatest fears. And it will open your eyes to the wonders of life. Whoever you are and whatever you’re going through, you will take home something from this film. 

“‘Firefly’ is really an inspiring story. The wholeness of the film being the lesson itself is the highlight of everything. It was not just a film, it was an art, a masterpiece.” – Jayjay Aguirre, media practitioner.


Refreshing lead to an ensemble cast

Firefly cast

Photo by Michael Paunlagui ; From left to right: Epy Quizon, Cherry Pie Picache, Alessandra De Rossi, Euwenn Mikael, Ysabel Ortega, Miguel Tanfelix, Director Dominic Zapata, Yayo Aguila, Max Collins.

The film features a roster of talented actors, but the lead and heart of Firefly is child actor Euwenn Mikael, who was also recognized as the Best Child Performer for this year’s MMFF. Once you watch this film, you’ll see how the young actor bagged the award as he gave an impressive and memorable performance as Tonton. Euwenn’s natural charm will capture your attention and once he delivers the gut-punching lines and his tears start pouring, you’ll find yourself crying along with him. He also has great chemistry with his castmates, especially with Alessandra De Rossi.

The entire cast of Firefly portrayed well-written characters you will root for, love, and remember as you join them on their journey.

It’s films like ‘Firefly’ that we need to watch to realize and ponder on things about life.” – Glenda Ann Coria, The Big Dipper Digital Content & Design, Inc.


Grounded yet compelling narrative

Firefly Book

Photo from GMA Public Affairs YouTube Channel

Firefly has a simple story, but it was told earnestly with a creative execution that made it a standout. The story has a sense of innocence and nostalgia to it as it is told from the perspective of an adult Tonton (played by Dingdong Dantes) as he recounts the memories and stories he shared with his mother as a kid, which may remind audiences of their own childhood.

The film also tackles serious matters like trauma, abuse, and death compassionately. It does not shy away from the reality of death and grief but still proves that healing is possible, which makes it a painful but ultimately inspiring experience.

“Simple at sinsero – yun para sa’kin ang pinaka malakas na bentahe ng pelikula. (Simple and sincere – that’s the film’s strongest selling point)” – Mark Joseph Bautista from Malolos Bulacan


An adventure for all ages

Firefly MMFF 2023

Photo from GMA Public Affairs YouTube Channel

The best thing about this film is that it’s a magical cinematic experience suitable for everyone. If you watch it on your own, you’ll enjoy it. If you’re a kid, you’ll understand the story. If you’re an adult, you’ll appreciate what the film is all about. No one is too young or too old to watch this film. It’s perfect for families, friends, or individuals who want to enjoy a good film. Firefly is simply for everybody to enjoy.

“It was really an “alapaap” (heavenly) experience watching the film.” – Jayjay Aguirre, media practitioner.


SEA Wave rates Firefly a 5 out of 5 waves.

Not only is Firefly an award-winning film, but it has also proven to be a hit among movie critics and a fan-favorite for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. So if you’re looking for a movie to watch this weekend, check out Firefly in over 100 cinemas nationwide and get ready to believe in the magic of love and the power of dreaming.


Have you seen Firefly? What do you think about the movie? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
For more movie reviews, pop culture trends, and Southeast Asian stories, and more visit seawavemag.com.


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