The film tells the life story of primadonna Zaiton Sameon, whose name used to be a household name once upon a time. Known for her song “Menaruh Harapan”, the singing sensation was at the height of her career when a tragic incident befell her in the year 1990, which led to the downfall of her popularity and the death of her son Irwan.
Oh God, where do I begin…
When I heard they were making a movie about Zaiton Sameon, I was excited! I used to like her and growing up in the 90s, you just cannot forget her name and her haunting songs and of course the tragedy that destroyed her life, her successful career and claimed the life of her only son. I was 7 when it happened, 3 days before my birthday. I’ve been waiting to see this movie for ages and I wanted to go to the cinema to watch it, and I expressed this in my facebook but then I received comments that it’s not as good as I had hoped for… so I decided to wait for it on TV.
So last month, it finally came on TV and… I WAS SO FUCKING DISAPPOINTED! There is a huge flaw with this movie. It’s very sad because this movie flopped when it shouldn’t. I have so many negatives to talk about rather than positive but I’ll just mention a couple of positive thing about the movie.
The movie has.. hmm.. the movie is… well… wow.. I can’t think of anything positive! Okay maybe the movie has nice cinematography, but that’s just it. So let’s start with all the negatives and I really, seriously hope Esma Daniel read this and actually realize the real flaws. The movie only made RM100k, that’s EPIC FAILURE. They should be embarrassed. It was pulled out from the cinema after one week – which usually happens if a movie fails to acquire good response.
The main and biggest flaw is they failed to give a damn about new younger generation when they are the main contributors to a film’s success. The movie has a huge plot hole. I can tell the director expected everyone would already know who Zaiton Sameon is. Really? The tragedy happened 23 years ago and you expect EVERYONE would already know about Zaiton Sameon?? That’s stupid. Her career ended in 1990, so for those who were born after will NOT know who she is. So what the director didn’t do is establishing characters! This pissed me off. Even I don’t know what she was like during her successful career because I was too young, why didn’t they show this? As someone who doesn’t know Zaiton, I would be asking these questions:
- Who is Zaiton?
- How popular was she?
- What kind of controversies surrounded her?
- Why does she deserve a movie made about her?
- How bad was the accident and how did it impact her life?
- How did she survive after?
Did the director show and explain it all? No.
The opening shows Zaiton singing, then show her in her room, talking to Odah (a famous reporter in the 90s), and we see her son .. for like 20 seconds eating KFC chicken. Then we see her taking a call, having to rush to somewhere.. where? Not mentioned.. hmph. Then we see her and her sleeping son in a van then BAM! Car crash. This is like 2 minutes after the movie started. REALLY MR ESMA DANIEL?? You open the movie, then 2 minutes in, car crash happens already?? I was seriously expecting it to be in the middle of the movie. Do I give a fuck about it? No. Why? Here’s why..
He didn’t establish the characters. This is important. If viewers do not care or do not know about the characters, who cares if they die?? They’re better off dead anyway. You just can’t expect people would already know who, what, and why. He should have shown Zaiton’s career as this popular yet controversial primadonna that we once knew. How she started in the music industry. Get the audience to know her and her life before the tragedy. Introduce her and her popularity to the younger generation. Introduce her son, and how much he meant to her. There is NOTHING about her and her career in the movie, NOTHING. Why didn’t he show how massively popular she was? How controversial she was?
So basically when the crash happens after 2 minutes the movies started, nobody cares. Also, he should have shown how terrible the crash was.. the condition of the car..I was expecting to see the aftermath of the crash. The victims on the road, all dead and dying.. all bloody. He didn’t show how serious the injury was. We only know they mentioned her son is dead.. that’s it. No emotion. Nothing. The driver is dead too, but is he mentioned? No. Did they show how serious her injury was? No. I wished they did like in the picture below. At least we would have some sympathy for her instead of just seeing her straight away waking up in the hospital.
We only see a few minutes of her waking up in the hospital. That’s it. They should have shown more.. how she was taken care of while she was in a coma, and how she did her therapy… because it was all too sudden that she’s back in her home, sitting in her wheelchair. Really, director?? I also read that she ‘lost her memory’ for 11 years before recovering and wanting to sing again. The movie does not show this. Then there’s one thing that annoys me greatly.
THE WIG! The freaking WIG! It’s the only wig she would wear in the movie from beginning to end. Are you serious? It’s as if her hair stopped growing for years. She had a terrible accident and her hair is colored and all nice like that? Oh wow, she was in a coma for a month, she wakes up and cut her hair nicely and colored it because all sick people do that right? Gotta care for the image! Pfft. Why didn’t they make her hair like how it really was?
Characters – Why is her sister such a bitch to her? Why? She’s such a bitch that I wanted to choke her. She told Zaiton her son was dead in the most heartless way. WHY is she like that? Did the director bother with this? No. In the middle of the movie we don’t see her again. What happened to her, or the brother? Nobody knows, nobody cares. The brother played by Karl Shafeek is so pushy and so annoying, that I wanted to kick him in the balls.
Nadia Aqilah is NOT fit as Zaiton. I did not believe her one bit. She’s also a bit on the chubby side, Zaiton wasn’t. She did a good job as an actress but as Zaiton she failed miserably. It was too huge for her. She did not portray the emotion as she should have, which makes the whole movie feel so blah. At first I heard Mislina was cast as Zaiton.. she looks exactly like her. She should have been Zaiton, not Nadia. Nadia does not have the 90s look.. Mislina would’ve been more believable as Zaiton.
The movie is all over the place. There’s no indication what and when everything happens. It seems like it all happen continuously.. but it doesn’t. You see something about Zaiton, then it cuts to a flashback but there’s no indication that it’s a flashback. You see Zaiton in a wheelchair and her brother annoyingly nags her to walk again.. then WOW. All of a sudden you see her getting off that chair and walking! MIRACLE! Yeah right. Nobody can walk that good without intensive therapy..do we see that in the movie? No. We’ve just been seeing her in the wheelchair, then suddenly she can walk without even falling? Damn her legs are so strong eh?
The movie, props, costumes, people, surrounding did not look like in the 90s. There’s absolutely NO 90s feel. There are even cars not available yet in the 90s! Did the director forget or just couldn’t care less? The hair is definitely not 90s. NOTHING in this movie looks like in the 90s. Gah this frustrates me. You see KL city, you see Louis Vuitton.. is that supposed to be in the 90s or after millennium? Well you wouldn’t know that, would you? Because Zaiton’s look never change. Her hair definitely does not change. It’s the same hair, same style, same look.
Director really FAILED to embody the 90s era. Highly disappointed in this.
There’s a flashback scene where her mother asks her for money, and she tries to get the box from the shelf.. then suddenly we see a shot of her mom and money falling all around her like snowfall… REALLY?? That can only happen if you take a handful of money and throw it up high to the ceiling, it will NOT happen if it has just fallen off a shelf. Really Mr Director? Have you not learn about gravity?
Another failure. There are terms that didn’t fit in the 90s. The term ‘Diva’ was not widely used in the 90s. Also at the beginning she asked a makeup artist (I think) if she looks ‘vogue’… (“Vogue tak nyah, mak?“). Firstly, is that how you’re supposed to say that? Not “Vogue tak mak, nyah?” Then secondly, If the scriptwriter did some research, well they would know that the term ‘vogue’ comes from the song ‘Vogue’ made popular by Madonna which was released March 20th 1990, a month after Zaiton’s accident. This is proof that everyone in this movie couldn’t care less about the movie.
By the middle of the movie, I couldn’t care less anymore. The movie is draggy. I wish the director had shown her struggle before and after the crash. How she was a very controversial artist. I just think casting Nadia Aqilah was the biggest mistake. Ever. The plot, storytelling ..failed. The stupid wig, the costume, the location, the atmosphere, all failed. It did not do Zaiton justice. It looks like the director did a very sloppy job and lazy and not particular on the acting and other aspects, and just couldn’t care about anything and just want to end the movie fast. No emotion.
Speaking of end, the movie ends so sudden. What the hell? It feels so incomplete. Why didn’t they make it as if she was telling her life story to that girl, put it at the beginning then end the movie with that scene maybe with some advice from her to that girl. That would’ve made more sense! The only good part is when they show real clip of Zaiton. It’s a no wonder the movie failed. It was just one very flat, emotionless movie that just drags and drags. I don’t get what message the movie is trying to send either… This movie is an insult to Zaiton and her life.
And so that is why Zaiton ‘Ceritaku’ flopped. It was a good try, but the director and scriptwriter needs to do more research. I guess you can’t completely blame them, it was Esma Daniel’s directorial debut.
I really wish we could see the version with Mislina and directed by Fauziah Nawi.
Any way, the real story of Zaiton is really sad and tragic. It’s even tragic that now when you listen to her 2 famous songs – Menaruh Harapan and Kabut Serangkai Mawar, it’s like listening to her sing about what would be her life after the tragedy. The similarities are a bit scary.
LDG’s Rating: 1 / 5
Genre: Biopic, Drama
Director: Esma Daniel
Writers: Hjh. Ainon Ariff, Esma Daniel
Cast: Nadia Aqilah, Shahronizam, Karl Shafek Ismail, Riezman Khuzaimi, Arash Mohd, Fazlina Dato Ahmad Daud, Wan Maimumah, Norlia Ghani
Film Classification: U (Umum aka General Audience)