Chai Fonacier receives praise and criticism over her Filipino accent in new film ‘Nocebo’

Chai Fonacier receives praise and criticism over her Filipino accent in new film ‘Nocebo’

October 5, 2022
A trailer for Filipino Irish psychological thriller “Nocebo,” featuring Chai Fonacier, has sparked heated debate over the accent the local actor uses in the film.
Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, “Nocebo” follows a fashion designer, played by Eva Green, who comes down with a mysterious illness that bewilders her doctors and husband (Mark Strong). The family hires a Filipino caretaker, played by Fonacier, “who uses traditional folk healing to reveal a horrifying truth.”
Many moviegoers were ecstatic to see Fonacier make her debut in the West after starring in award-winning Filipino films such as “Patay na si Hesus” (“Jesus is Dead”) and “Respeto” (“Respect”). However, some viewers were less thrilled about her character’s accent.
“The accent is unbearable. Why was the accent greenlit? Is it really necessary? Good for Chai, but my left eyebrow is raised. We know she doesn’t speak English like that,” one viewer wrote in a Twitter thread.
View post on Twitter
They added that the problem is not about being ashamed over having an accent, but more about depicting dangerous stereotypes in Western media.
“Immediately invalidating multiple people feeling off about this and the valid criticism makes you sound like ‘puro reklamo, suporta na lang kase,’” the Twitter user added.
Other users did not have an issue with Fonacier’s accent, arguing it only becomes a dangerous stereotype if it’s used for mockery or adds nothing of value to the character’s story.
Subscribe to
NextShark's Newsletter

A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.

Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.

Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.

View post on Twitter
“Accents like that exist in the Philippines. It is accurate to whatever region the character is supposed to have come from,” another user said.
The Cebu native actor has spoken out following the buzz around her character’s accent.
“There’s some talk about the accent I used in the trailer,” Fonacier said. “Simply put: you would shit on me as an actor if I spoke in ‘better English’ and THEN you found out what my character’s background is when you see the film. Yun lang.”
View post on Twitter
She has also amassed much support since the trailer dropped on Monday. 
View post on Twitter
View post on Twitter
Green also praised her co-star’s “extraordinary depth and sensitivity” in playing the character.
“Nocebo” is set to release on Nov. 4.
Featured Image via Movie Coverage
      Khier Casino

      Khier Casino is a contributor at NextShark




      Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.

      Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.

      We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.

      © 2023 NextShark, Inc. All rights reserved.