Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pinoy Film Focus: One More Chance (2007)

Director: Cathy Garcia-Molina

Writers: Vanessa Valdez, Carmi Raymundo

Cast: John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, Derek Ramsay, Maja Salvador

"She loved me at my worst, you had me at my best."

"Ang totoo, hanggang ngayon, umaasa pa rin ako na sabihin mong ako pa rin. Ako na lang. Ako na lang ulit." (Translation: "The truth is, until now, I'm still hoping that you'd say it's still me. Please let it be me. Let it still be me.")

Above are just two of the insanely memorable quotes that have made One More Chance such a hit among a diverse array of Filipino moviegoers. Cheesy, yes, but the film's overall sensibility and lack of pretentiousness so pervasive in the typical Filipino romance have given the film a reputation as a genuinely hip rom-com romp that ultimately resonates in the heart of anyone who has fallen in love or is fascinated with the idea of being so. As far as that genre goes, there are few modern Filipino films better than One More Chance.

Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) and Basha (Bea Alonzo) have been a couple since they were students in the same university, the former taking a course in engineering and the latter one in architecture. Working in the same place after graduation and being part of the same social circle, they have become practically inseparable. It comes as a shock, then, to everyone--most of all to Popoy--when Basha declares that she would like to become independent and realize her own identity, both being possible only if they separate. Popoy is predictably devastated, and it takes him quite some time to recover and move on. When he finally does, an unforeseen series of events brings their paths back together, and matters become complicated for both of them.

In the hands of another director, the film could have easily turned into yet another overly saccharine melodrama, the likes of which the Filipino film industry churns out with abandon. Instead, Cathy Garcia-Molina--now one of the country's go-to directors for this sort of fare--handles the themes with care and restraint. The dialogues written by Vanessa Valdez and Carmi Raymundo are current and mostly realistic, which would in large part explain why the performances by the principal cast (with a few exceptions here and there) seem so organic. Cruz is particularly a stand-out; he cements here his reputation as the mature boy-next-door type with the right acting chops.

The ending is quite predictable, as far as the formula goes for these types of local films. That one does not mind it, or the deluge of corny quotes, is testament to how endearing the film really is. It certainly is enough to give the jaded viewer pause and make him or her give the Pinoy rom-com one more chance.


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