“Featuring a mix of real students and professional actors, SENIOR YEAR is a glimpse into the lives of ten students at St. Frederick’s Academy as they struggle through the final months before graduation. Hearts are broken and healed, friendships are formed and lost. Childish ways are thrown out in exchange for seeds of maturity in what may be the beginning of a bumpy ride towards the chaos of adulthood.” Source.
It took a third run for me to actually catch this movie. Am I sorry? Yes. Am I ashamed? Well, not really. It’s called having a demanding life. And I do have to choose work (and sometimes rest) over watching a movie.
But I am thankful that I was finally able to watch Senior Year.
Senior Year tells the story of a graduating class of students who deal with life as they end one chapter of their lives, and move on to begin a new one. It’s not a story of any one person, but of the collective, of the people we knew when we were in high school.
I have to say that this film is very Filipino. In our high schools, there’s no such thing as the “in” crowd—but we do have cliques. Batch loyalty is sometimes more powerful than rivalries, and we do remember the petty things that happened ten years ago—even if we don’t want to. This is Senior Year.
It’s been nine years since I graduated from high school. We’re having our tenth year reunion next year. Sort of. So it was nice to see Senior Year as the person who will soon experience the same things the three storytellers of the film were experiencing in the story. What had changed? What hadn’t changed? And who wouldn’t be appearing in our batch reunion when it comes?
We all have stories. None of which is more important than the other. The movie gave us glimpses into the lives of some of the characters, samples of our own memories: about the sweethearts, the weird ones, the superficial, the rebels… And that’s just what they are: memories. We don’t really know if it’s fact—but it’s true for us, because that’s what we remember.
And that’s what Senior Year gives its audience: a chance to reflect, to reminisce. And, this is getting to be a bit of a cliché now, in the fast-track lives we lead now, this is exactly what we need: a time to slow down. For around two hours (give or take), the film made us remember our own experiences—however long ago it was or however recent; it gave us a chance to reflect on what was important to us, and what we wanted to be way back when, as well as who we thought we’d be by now.
This movie isn’t just a coming-of-age story, of a group of high school students learning that life isn’t black-and-white. It’s also a comeback movie, for the viewers to return to who they were, to rediscover who they thought they were. It’s a movie for everyone—but it will have a more special meaning for those who have long left the halls of high school.
And you can catch the Senior Year fever again on July 17, 9 p.m. at the CCP Dream Theater—part of this year’s Cinemalaya Festival.