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Philip’s movie review – This Mukesh-starrer, about a family handling crisis, has its heart in the right place

Mukesh gets a lot of space to perform in Philip’s, but it’s the late actor Innocent, who truly shines in the movie

Philip’s movie review – This Mukesh-starrer, about a family handling crisis, has its heart in the right place
A still from Philip's

Last Updated: 05.51 PM, Dec 01, 2023


Philip’s story: Widower Philip lives in Bengaluru with son Basil and school-going children Blessy and Betty. After a shocking incident turns their lives upside down, cracks begin to form – especially after Philip decides to prioritise a legal case as a distraction over something much more important. Will the family fall apart or grow closer during this crisis?

Philip’s review: Director-actor Vineeth Sreenivasan’s Jacobinte Swargarajyam was about a family going through a crisis and how this situation, not only just inspires the best in each of them, but also brings them closer. The fact that the Malayalam movie was based on true events only made the movie even dearer to the audience.


For his debut directorial, Helen co-writer Alfred Kurian Joseph picks a similar slice-of-life drama about a family who have to endure a distressful predicament and how it makes them grow closer. On paper, that should work; but given these films should also have emotional moments that hook the audience and move them, it’s no mean feat. To the makers’ credit, Philip’s has its heart in the right place.

The movie, which is based on true events, revolves around a widower Philip (Mukesh) and his three children – Basil, Blessy and Betty – who live in Bengaluru. In the first half, the makers paint a realistic picture of a middle-class family, who have members belonging to different age groups – from a father who has to make ends meet and a son who is tasked with the responsibility to prioritise his family over his dreams, to a teenager who is figuring out her life and a pre-teen who is her father’s pet. Alfred and co-writer Mathukutty Xavier keep this real and doesn’t create a rosy picture. Even when there is a sense of detachment between the three siblings, the underlying family bond – the one that is often taken for granted – is intangibly present.

Philip’s pivotal point is also this bond – the strength of which is tested when one of them meets with an unexpected accident, and how it has different ramifications on each of them. The film’s second half doesn’t play out in the usual cinematic manner that you expect such movies to; instead it shows the various emotional episodes of what each of these characters are going through. That it flits from one member to another, sometimes, robs the emotional quotient that the movie could have stood to gain had it let it hover.

For instance, you get to see more how Philip is cracking under the pressure, and even as the makers try to shine the spotlight on his elder son Basil, who has to juggle between work, home, hospital and love and rise up to the challenge, there’s no finality to it. We get a line from Innocent’s character Mani uncle towards the end about how Basil has stepped up, but there’s no payoff. This is how most of the scenes play out. Maybe that’s how the makers wanted it to be, given that the family is dealing with a bigger crisis and that within a family, it’s expected.

Philip’s also has a few moments that would move the audience – and most of it comes from those outside the family and their selfless acts that push Mukesh’s character to change himself. Mukesh as Philip gets a lot of space to perform, acing the happy family sequences and reflecting the stress that he faces even as he distracts himself from what could happen. But it’s the late actor Innocent, who truly shines in the film. It’s a joy to watch him again on the big screen and Mani uncle is a fitting tribute to the actor who had entertained the Malayalam audience. Noble, Navani and Quinn’s characters are memorable, but the script mostly focuses on the father’s dilemma though told through the eyes of a daughter.

The writing, however, does make us feel that it’s stitched together from just a few exciting, shocking and moving moments in the family’s life because the events unfold at a brisk pace and is somewhat devoid of depth. That said, it hammers home the point that a crisis can bring families together, and together, they can weather any storm.

Hesham Abdul Wahab’s music and Jaison Jacob John’s cinematography keep the movie breezy, even when the family goes through tumultuous times.

Philip’s verdict: If you are a fan of feel-good family dramas that have the potential to move you, then Mukesh’s Philip will not disappoint. This simple film, which is based on true events, keeps it real. You might not feel a rush of uplifting emotions at the end of it, but it will leave you with a smile.

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