In case you were wondering, the answer is yes, I’ll be posting my Movie Reviews here as well, instead of my Movie Review Blog, because, well, because WordPress has Categories. (That is, the reason I’m here after all, instead of other blog hosts.) It’s just so hard to maintain several blogs, yeah? So now I’m trying to maintain just this one, even if it is on a variety of topics. Besides, I didn’t think it was fair if my reviews on other Asian stuff are here, but the Filipino stuff and Hollywood stuff are in a different blog. I should treat all works equally, right?
Yeah, yeah, there’s no need for justification… Just get on with the review already! (Wait–why am I talking to myself!?)
When Love Begins ( 2008 )
Directed by: Jose Javier Reyes
Nationality (as in, where this movie is from): Pilipinas!
So sometimes it’s a good thing when a movie is realistic. Because audiences will be able to relate to the characters easier, right? But there are also times, wherein a story (or dialogue) is too realistic, that it makes for a very boring film. Such is the case for When Love Begins.
The story goes like this–An environmentalist lawyer named Ben (played by Aga Mulach) meets the rich daughter of a land developer, Mich (played by the beautiful Anne Curtis) in one of the loveliest islands of the Philippines–Boracay. They go out, they like each other, but there are two things that’s holding them back from the grandeur of love: 1) They’re both tired of commitments and don’t like taking relationships too seriously; and 2) The company (which plans to cut trees and destory a river in a provincial town) Ben’s environmentalist group is protesting against is owned by Mich’s father
I’ll admit it. What got me interested in this movie, is reason no.2 (Hey, we should all care about the environment!), which is why I was disappointed when it didn’t happen to be the focus of the story. Okay okay, we all have different tastes, and since this was marketed as love story, then it was well and good that it focused on the “romance” aspect, but that’s exactly why I think it doesn’t work for me.
The relationship between Ben and Mich is too real– from the way they met, to the dialogue they spoke, the activities they did, the places they went to. Nothing was larger than life, nothing very dramatic. I know it was probably meant to be that way, but set against the somewhat unrealistic backdrop of “rich girl, poor guy” (although Ben wasn’t exactly poor– his family’s house is huge, but I say “poor” because there was a part in which it was implied that he wasn’t sosyal (Um, I think that’s “high class” in English, I’m not so sure), with the ‘too coincidental to be true’ idea of having rich girl’s father be the one poor guy’s protesting against, well, it just makes me confused on what to think of the movie.
Is it one of those movies wherein you condition yourself to take all things as fiction, and so it’s just fun to watch all the “what if” scenarios, or a movie wherein you’re supposed to believe that the events really happen in real life, and so the issues are real, and that you should reflect more on its message? (Yes, I believe romantic comedies have “messages”, too.)
I know not everyone will share my opinion on this, but for me, I just wished there was more drama. I mean, I go into the cinema to escape from real life. If I watch something that’s as normal as one of the stories my friend (who just got back from her summer vacation) would tell me, then I might as well just have talked to my friend and not see the movie. I expected fireworks, laugh-out-loud moments, witty quotable quotes, and cheesy-disgustingly-sweet moments, big romantic gestures (like Mich taking a stand, and defying her father for being so careless about the environment), but unfortunately, the movie has none of it. It didn’t even have enough wide-angle shots of Boracay, which makes the place seem like just another beach in the Philippines instead of “The” Boracay.
The only quotable quote I got was Mich’s line: “It’s not enough that you accept me for who I am. But you also have to accept me for who I’m not.” (Or something like that, again, I’m quoting this from memory so it’s not exact.) Other than that, there was nothing that made too much of an impact to remember. Or, wait, Anne Curtis’ performance was actually great. She was really believable as a character. It’s a shame the other elements are so boring, I think her growth as an actress seems wasted.
So, in my list of summer movies (and when I say “summer movies” I mean those movies that have beach settings, and not necessarily the movies that open during the summer), I think I’d much prefer Summer Holiday over this. Mostly because that was more entertaining. For some reason, this one made me feel like I was watching someone’s home video. But I don’t know, I think with all the reality shows nowadays, people like things like these better now. Oh well.