During my latest visit to the Philippines, I watched the film How To Be Yours at the movie theater. Although having been to the Philippines several times, this was my first time actually going to the movie theaters and experiencing just how large and spacious and well-conditioned they are. Now why choose this particular movie? I simply saw the trailer on TV and wanted to watch a Pinoy film…and it was that or Suicide Squad. I wanted to feel kilig so the choice was easy.
WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
Produced by Star Cinema, I was expecting to experience several kilig moments because, honestly, that is how I rate my Pinoy romance movies. Not for their creativity or well-written scripts or any of that. However, I was left pleasantly surprised by end of the movie. Director Dan Villegas and the scriptwriters presented a film that wasn’t typical of many of the romance movies I have seen. Granted, it has been many years since I have kept up with my Pinoy movies and I don’t really know who are all the top actresses and actors nowadays. There are no “crazy” events that occur in the film, such as someone having a disease, someone dying, someone having amnesia, and there is no quick resolution at the end. This movie does not display a fantasy. It is terribly, terribly real.
Too real. TOO F***ING REAL.
How to be yours, po?
From the very beginning of the movie, we immediately witness the spark of a new romance between the two main characters, Anj and Niño. The audience finds out that Niño is a highly successful salesman while Anj is an aspiring chef who shares a small food stand business with her friends. We watch them as they dialogue and live out their lives just like us ordinary people. And that’s another thing that I like about this film. We can find something in common and relatable with the main characters.
As the relationship develops, Niño is shown to be highly supportive of his girlfriend, even sacrificing his own goals in order for Anj to reach hers. This is where we start to realize the conflict of the story. During a bed conversation, Anj presents to Niño two choices:
Choice A: love over career
Choice B: career over love
Why can’t you just have both, right? To cut to the chase, we observe a switch of roles as Anj chooses her career and eventually becomes a top chef at her own restaurant while Niño, who made sacrifices for Anj’s rise, chooses to prioritize his relationship and lost his job in the process.
I remember leaving the movie theater wishing there was more to the movie than what I saw. This movie didn’t have any “fireworks”. There was not much of a kilig factor. However, as time went on and I dwelled on the premise of the film, I thought the movie was superb for the following reasons. The film was so sincere, so real, and effective in its portrayal of a modern couple. We get to observe a couple grow, argue, and struggle with the obstacles that life can throw at them without the need to introduce overdramatic elements, like having a love triangle or an untimely death. In addition, I thought Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson played their roles quite convincingly and the cinematography was noteworthy, from the details of the rooms and the attention of the camera shots (I like the grocery scene, in particular).
And as I type out this post, I finally realized why I liked this movie more than I thought I would. The perspective comes primarily from the guy’s perspective when, in many cases, we tend to find the perspective coming from primarily the woman in romance movies.
I have to admit that I could easily relate to what I saw in the film. Choosing either a career (or focusing on school AND career) over a relationship. It’s happened before and it was a mess. And I confess that I feel like I’m currently in a similar predicament at the moment.
Choice A or Choice B???
As Niño said in the film, Baka pagna-meet ko na ang right girl, maging choice A na rin ako. (Perhaps once I meet the right girl, I will choose Choice A.)
Lastly, I want to tell you how much I love the theme song of this movie. Whenever I visit the Philippines, there are usually one or two songs that I discover while I’m there that ends up becoming the theme song of my entire vacation. This is the song. I love the meaning of the lyrics. And it’s quite fitting, considering I visited during the rainy season and…well…
Paano ba patitilain ang bagyo, kung ang gusto mo lang ay ambon?