How far would you go to find a missing person? Indonesian drama Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan dives deep into the prevalent problem of street children being exploited for money in the big city.
It focuses on the trials and tribulations of orphan siblings Anton (Bima Azriel) and Angel (Izzati Khansa) as they are forced into a syndicate run by abusive “caretaker” Rudy (Lukman Sardi).
If they don’t get enough money for the day, Rudy has no problem dunking their heads into a barrel of water. Yes, on top of being tragic story about innocence lost, Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan is also a distressing movie where poor kids go through a lot of suffering.
Prepare yourself for tons of sad scenes like when little Angel writes to God asking to be free from Rudy’s clutches. Cue the waterworks.
Well, good news is Angel gets what she asks for.
She gets adopted by a loving family and grows up to be a passionate human rights lawyer (now played by Bunga Citra Lestari).
She is engaged to Martin (Joe Taslim), a doctor who is impossibly perfect.
The bad news is, while Angel escaped the clutches of Rudy, Anton was stuck with Rudy.
Haunted by guilt, Angel leaves the comfort of her cushy life and embark on a harrowing search to be reunited with her brother.
This is where the movie becomes an engaging watch as we follow Angel on her journey. You’ll be glued to your seat just to find out if Angel and Anton ever get a happy ending.
There is a dream-like quality to the way the city looks and it’s sad to think that some children do not have the luxury of enjoying their childhood.
Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan ironically complements its tragic elements with gorgeous hues of fluorescent lights illuminating the city.
However Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan hits a snag when it tries to explore one too many issues.
After it is done with the tragic elements, the movie moves to the courtroom.
This is where the movie turns into a sluggish courtroom drama with Angel making sure Rudy gets his punishment.
Then, it tries to make you ponder about the disparity between the rich and the less fortunate. Here, it comes off a bit preachy.
As a result, Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan feels like a tragedy on steroids; there is just too much going on which makes it an exhausting watch.
If you could get through it all, then Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan is perhaps just what you need as a reality check.
If you need a reason to be grateful for what you have, then this movie gives you all the right answers.
It also makes you wonder if we are all born equal and sadly, judging from the way life unravels in Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan … the answer is no.
Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan
Director: Fajar Bustomi
Cast: Bunga Citra Lestari, Joe Taslim, Bima Azriel, Izzati Khansa, Aura Kasih, Lukman Sardi