I want to be like Sirius. However bad the weather is, it keeps on shining bright.
Most teenage flicks expose romance; a strategy that works well in the film industry. A new drama flick, Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan (A Small Letter for God), also offers a pinch of romance, but the film actually sells tears.
In other words, this is a film that drives the audience to use a handkerchief or facial tissues to dry their tears from the start to the end. The slow plot may make you yawn a bit, but the film successfully produces heartwarming scenes that will make many people leave the cinema with teary eyes.
Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan is an adaptation from a popular book with the same title. The story is based on a true story of cancer patient Gita Sesa Wanda Cantika, who began her struggle with cancer when she was only 13 years old. She eventually died on December 25, 2006.
The story revolves around Keke (played by newcomer Dinda Hauw), her family and her close friends. Keke is a teenage who is passionate about great figures that mark history and constantly wonders about what she can leave as a legacy.
She has a warm father, Jody, (played by Alex Komang, who is known for his roles in Doea Tanda Mata, Ca Bau Kan, Laskar Pelangi), a cranky mother, two loving brothers, six close friends and a new boyfriend.
Suddenly on one day her nose begins to bleed constantly and her eyes become sore. A doctor diagnoses her with rhabdomyosarcoma cancer that attacks the soft tissues on her cheek.
Keke’s father tried to hide the diagnoses from her. He brought her to various traditional herbal centers, which forced her to eat raw food she does not like. Jody refuses to bring her daughter for surgery that could result in loosing half of her face.
Keke’s cancer exacerbates in only three weeks.
Slowly but sure, half of her face deformed horribly. The girl regularly writes in her diary. Along with her illness, she writes a letter to God. The film shows her undying spirit to do the best and make use of her remaining time in the world with loved ones.
There are many heartwarming scenes supported by thoughtful screenplay. The most tear-jerking moment is when her friends cut some of their hair to show their sympathy. Keke’s hair had fallen due to chemotherapy.
Alex Komang acted smoothly as Keke’s father, developing good chemistry between the father and daughter figures. As a new comer, Dinda did a good job in delivering her acting.
I actually expected to see some side of the spirited and cheerful personality of the character, but she mostly showed various melancholic faces throughout the movie.
I address the credit to the make up artist, who managed to highlight the shocking impact of cancer. However, there are a few scenes that raise questions. One of them was when she was carried by her driver to the class to join a national examination.
I wonder why she did not sit on a wheel chair, which was used in the previous scene. The color of blood in the early scene did not look real either, but the color gets better after that.
Two online bloggers, Agnes and Davonar, wrote the true story in their personal blog. It was read by 350,000 readers and was made into a novel. They won the Most Influential Blogger in 2009 and received credit as the best Indonesia Writing blogger 2009.
Verdict: Heartwarming movie about spirit, family and friendship. Bring your handkerchiefs and tissues.