17 February 2014 | sameenshaws
Unusually gripping tale of heartbreak and love.
When my mother first coerced my family into watching the movie a few days after it was released, I was understandably hesitant. She had a very glowing response to the movie, to which I was rather intrigued, mostly due to the fact that my mother hardly ever says anything glowing about any Filipino movie. Most of the time, I have nothing particularly nice to say about most of them, either.
I will be frank: the quality of romance movies produced in the Philippines borders on ridiculously cheesy and outright ridiculous, with most feature films of this genre being peppered with jokes from popular television shows and various other pop-culture references inserted only to entice the masses into watching. Usually, the only things carrying a Filipino romance film are a popular celebrity pair-up and a bunch of cheesy one-liners.
I walked into the movie theatre, steeling myself for a barrage of unbearable jokes, pop culture references, and sub-par acting. I was, thankfully, only hit by the former two: after all, these things are inescapable in most films. But what surprised me the most were the performances of the two main leads: Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga, the latter of which is not known for her dramatic performances, being a TV host and model. Gonzaga delivers what is arguably the best performance of her career, playing Ginny, an college student who falls in love with a history professor at her college. Pascual plays Marco, said history professor.
The director, Olivia Lamasan, does a great job directing the cast and crew, leading to beautiful cinematography, costumes, and wonderful performances from the actors, having audiences discover the hidden acting prowess of Gonzaga and Pascual. Supporting actors and actresses also have their moments, and almost all their performances are done very well.
I won't post any spoilers, but the movie is a gripping story of heartbreak, love, and how time and circumstances can change everything, with a dash of slice-of-life humour. Starting Over Again will have you gripping the armrest of your chair as you giggle uncontrollably, and it will also have you sobbing relentlessly either into your sleeve or on the shoulder of whoever is nearest your sopping face. Yes, the movie has its cheesy moments. Yes, it does have some parts that'll make you go "what", but it definitely is worth giving a chance if you've fallen out of love with mainstream Filipino cinema.