The Jakarta Post
Family films are expected to include a heart-warming plot, broad humor for children and life lessons for all. Keluarga Cemara, a screen adaptation of a popular television series that aired in the 1990s, combines all this without many surprises.
Directed by Yandy Laurens, the film follows the story of Abah (Ringgo Agus Rahman) and his family. After going bankrupt, Abah moves his wife Emak (Nirina Zubir) and their two daughters Euis (JKT48 member Adhisty Zara) and Cemara (Widuri Putri Sasono) from Jakarta to a small village near Bogor, West Java.
Struggling financially, Abah is willing to do anything to feed his family. Realizing this, the loving and wise Emak tries her best to help Abah by selling opak (Sundanese corn-flour chips). Happy-go-lucky Ara has an easy time adapting to the new situation. However, things are not so easy for Euis. The teenage girl has to leave her friends and move to a new school that is worlds apart from her previous one.
Although Keluarga Cemara does not offer anything new, the movie is quite enjoyable. The plot moves smoothly, each issue discussed one by one. Once in a while, Ceu Salmah (Asri Welas) appears on screen to deliver a dose of humor.
Similar to the series, the film discusses Indonesian family values, including togetherness, simplicity and the true meaning of family. Some parts of the story have been modified to make it more relevant to the current era; in the new version, Abah is not a becak (pedicab) driver and there is a scene in which Euis climbs a tree to get cell phone signal.
Scriptwriters Yandy and Gina S Noer focused more on Abah and Euis among the characters. An ordinary guy, Abah made bad decisions, but he’s hardly a bad person. Meanwhile, Euis is a representation of a modern teenage girl in the digital age. A good girl at heart, she just needs more time to understand her family’s new situation.
Plot-wise, the story is quite predictable. However, Yandy and Gina managed to add a sensitive topic into the mix: menstruation. This issue rarely appears in local films and not every woman is comfortable speaking about it. However, the plot discusses it lightly and contains information that can be easily understood by teenage girls.
All in all, Keluarga Cemara is a typical family film. However, its life lessons make it worth the watch, especially if you watch it with your teenage daughter. (wng)
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