Spilt Gravy

Critics Republic: The Malaysian Film Packs A Punch

(Review written by Miriam Devaprasana, first published in Critics Republic on 18 June 2022.)

When I first came across the book Jit Murad Plays, I spent the most time lingering between the pages of Spilt Gravy on Rice. It was the perfect final movement to a symphony of hidden vulnerabilities and unapologetic truths. So when news of Spilt Gravy made its way around social media recently, there was no doubt that this was the film we needed to embrace. Especially now.

The premise is simple: Bapak (Rahim Razali) is an ageing father who realises he does not have much time left. So he invites his five children over to dinner to resolve conflicts and ultimately decide who inherits the family house. It opens with a birthday party, providing a glimpse into the life of the five siblings. It is a dream; it is a memory. It is not necessarily his to remember. But it is stirring enough to awaken Bapak to the present – 8 June 2011, where the rest of the story unfolds.

The film stands out in many ways. The familiarity and intimacy between the cast members, many of whom were in the original staging, is so tangible that I believed in every scene they delivered. Sure, the awkward pauses to mark ‘malaikat lalu’ (angels played by Harith Iskander and the late Jit Murad himself) feel rather rigid, and, well, slightly forced. But they are few, and so enveloped with clever shots and wit that they can be overlooked.

I enjoyed the supporting roles of Azri (Carliff Carleel), Michelle (Dara Raziana Othman), Hortense (Bernie Chan), and Sujatha (Joelah Charles). I suppose it’s a little bit of marriage – each main character is paired with a minor cast who helps them work through their insecurities and personal tragedies. Azri and his candidness towards his boyfriend Husni, Michelle the transgender drag queen who provides security for Zakaria, Hortense, and her sense of self in comparison to her best friend Zaitun, and Sujatha, and her protectiveness for her boss Kalsom.

Read the rest of the article on Critics Republic.

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