Goin’ into the theater, I already expected that I’d love it no matter what since it’s starred by JM de Guzman whom I considered a superb performer and being partnered with the feisty Angelica Panganiban – my impression was solidly cemented for good.
A Thing Called Tadhana isn’t your usual pa-tweetums romantic pinoy flick. It’s sooooo far from it. Directed by Antoinette Jadaone, the whole thing was like a local adaptation of Before Sunrise – but definitely has its own charm. Mace (Panganiban) and Anthony (de Guzman) met at an airport in Rome. Both broken-hearted, they decided to take on a road trip in the northern part of the Philippines – a whirlwind trip that went deeper than their new found friendship as they delved into searching where do really broken hearts go?
I just totally loved how their relationship developed throughout their journey. The dialogues weren’t overly dramatic but very memorable. They’re not the usual “one-liners” that border on being contrived. It’s the lines that you’d actually remember the most after watching this film. I especially loved this one – “Hindi Na Kita Mahal, Makakaalis Ka Na! Yung eight years naming, tinapos niya in seven words!” – I thought it was genius through and through!”
I also loved the fact that it focuses more on dialogues than visuals although it feels like you’re also travelling with them as they went to Baguio, then Sagada (I totally got nostalgic on their way there because Sagada’s one of my favorite places on earth!!!!) – I’m happy that these places were highlighted in the story without out-staging the actors. The only thing I would consider to be an issue about it is the excessive use of profanity which I felt was lazy on the part of the screenwriter. Other than this, it is golden.
JM de Guzman and Angelica Panganiban just had this undeniable chemistry that made the film relatable more than its glaring mass appeal. It’s so refreshing to watch a Filipino film that does not resort to visual grandeur which often does not work in their favor. I loved the film’s simplicity, its funny antics and its touch of nostalgia that everyone could easily relate to. Jadaone created a pierce here that will probably propel her into the mainstream cinema film making. Congratulations!
Director: Antoniette Jadaone
Cast: Angelica Panganiban, JM de Guzman