Thursday, February 26, 2015

THAT THING CALLED TADHANA

Angelica Panganiban, JM De Guzman

"Where do broken hearts go?"


I guess it has been established from the contents of this blog that I don't watch Filipino films. There is no profound explanation why, I just don't watch them. Although on a few occasions when I am channel surfing on the telly, I settle for a local film mid stream for the simple reason that there is nothing 'nice' on at that appropriate time. 

But a blogger friend sent a shout out on her FB page where she tagged me along with others and she highly recommended this film. I was in luck as it was still showing at the cinemas.

The title translates to "That Thing called Destiny" and it functions on the simple question 'where do broken hearts go?' which is a hugely popular Whitney Houston song. We first meet our main characters at an international airport where Mace (Angelica Panganiban) is having trouble with her luggage which weighs over the allowed baggage requirements. Anthony (JM De Guzman) a fellow Filipino traveler comes to her aid by providing space in his luggage for her excess clothes. During the flight, they start conversing about their past relationships and the exchange of sob stories continues as well as when they decide (on a whim) to go to Baguio then Sagada.

Being broken-hearted and sharing sob stories is a good premise to bank on. The dialogue is witty, funny and thought provoking. The two leads share a palpable chemistry even though they are complete strangers who are slowly getting to know each other. Their exchange unfolds in scenic and familiar settings like Baguio (the City of Pines) and the rustic yet enchanting Sagada (a popular tourist sight in the Mountain Province). 

It is refreshing to watch a film in the vernacular where you immediately get any innuendos implied from the dialogue. The terms and words used are simple, straight to the point and they convey the bitterness and pain that Mace imbues as she tries her best to wrap her head around the failure of her relationship. 

As far as romantic comedies go, "That Thing called Tadhana" doesn't go the predictable route (this is a good thing!). It does not rely on the cheesy and corny "kilig" factor which irritates me to no end with the pairings of young local celebrities whose only claim to fame is being part of a love team. I like how the ending hints at a sequel as it keeps us guessing on the fate of Mace and Anthony.

A realistic narrative, clever dialogue, gorgeous cinematography, believable acting from the leads - are the ingredients that made this film, a huge success. It makes me hopeful that the local film industry is still capable of producing really good quality movies. And maybe just maybe it would end my aversion towards local films. 

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