‘Doll House’: Melodramatic but Baron Geisler saves the day 

Baron Geisler delivers a truthful performance in Doll House, Marla Ancheta’s sentimental drama currently no. 1 among Philippine movies on Netflix.

Baron Geisler as father and Althea Ruedas as his daughter in ‘Doll House.’ | PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF NETFLIX

As someone who has publicly admitted to living a rock ’n’ roll lifestyle in the past, Geisler brings authenticity to the role of Rustin, lead vocalist of a band and son of a military general.

Never mind if Geisler is not a good singer — what matters is he succeeds in fleshing out his character.

One night, Rustin’s band celebrates one of their guitarists’ 40th birthday by shoving coke up their noses and downing booze.

In a ruminative but morbid moment, Diego, the birthday boy, says he’s ready to die after finding fulfillment in having a family and a band.

The following day he kicks the bucket from a drug overdose.

Rustin, shaken by Diego’s death and feeling “unfulfilled” without a family of his own, flies to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Here, we learn that he almost had a family. His wife had left him—but they had a daughter, Yumi (Althea Ruedas), who never knew his existence.

Rotterdam—Europe’s largest seaport and dotted with magnificent architecture, fairytale-like riverbanks, and lively café culture — becomes the setting of the movie’s conflict.

Though Ancheta turns Rona Sales’ screenplay into an emotionally manipulative tearjerker, the camera captures touching moments between Rustin and Yumi, who meet by accident and develop an instant bond.

While Geisler is competent in his role, the adorable Ruedas also delights with her naturalistic, effortless performance.

Baron Geisler as father and Althea Ruedas as his daughter in ‘Doll House.’ | PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Doll House seeks to explore the theme of substance abusers as victims who need help and understanding more than judgment. But it seems more concerned to make the audience cry than provide a complex-character study.

Overall it is melodramatic, filled with too many flashbacks, and encumbered by continuity issues.

Nonetheless, what viewers will remember well is Geisler and Rueda’s engaging chemistry —with the breathtaking Rotterdam as backdrop.

2.5 out of 5 stars
On Netflix

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