Beautifully shot and thoughtfully directed, One More Try took up a very controversial theme that was ably told with a good script, fast pace and a great cast.
The movie revolved around Grace (Angel Locsin), a single mother who has a child named Bochok, which has a rare blood disease. She has tried all things she could to help her child except for one: reconnecting with Edward, Bochok’s father (Dingdong Dantes), for him to help in the treatment. Edward is already married to a successful career woman, Jacqueline (Angelica Panganiban), who’s still unable to give him a child. The complicated process of curing Bochok has started to ruin Grace’s relationship with her boyfriend, Tristan (Zanjoe Marudo) and Edward’s to Jacqueline. And after exhausting other options to help treat Bochok, they’re left with one: for Edward and Grace to conceive another child who would be a good donor to save him. Would everyone involved agree to this set-up?
The director, Ruel S. Bayani, was successful to capture the beauty of Baguio and other locations where scenes in the film were shot. He was able to make the beauty in the scene linger for a moment, just enough to prevent the audience from being overwhelmed or underwhelmed. Moreover, the audience could see that he’s careful in his work as the film turned out really polished from beginning to end.
There’s a reason why the movie won for Best Screenplay. The dialogues were sharp and appropriate in what the situation of the scene was calling for. Of course, there were a lot of catchy one-liners (e.g. Iba ang pumapayag sa nakikisama, iba rin ang nakikisama sa nagtitiis and Mahal kita, pero mas mahal ko ang anak ko) and the way the actors delivered them made them believable to the ears. Add to this the movie’s very good pacing, and surely, the audience won’t feel uninterested for one bit while watching.
The sacredness of sex, or the union of male and female, was the moral dilemma in the movie. Would a mother be willing to offer her body to save her son? Would a wife be willing to lend her husband to a woman whom the husband had had a son for just one night? Would a husband be willing to break the sanctity of marriage for the sake of his son? Such questions have troubled the characters in the story and most probably the audience as well. These questions would never be easy to answer, but the way the writers of the movie tried to answer them was an effort worth noticing. They aimed to serve the movie an ending that would have justified the initial motives of the characters, albeit this ending was very unlikely to happen. And this doesn’t mean the ending made the movie a good one. In fact, I consider its ending as its weakest point.
The biggest strength of the movie was its great cast. I never thought Angel Locsin could really be a big contender for a Best Actress award, but in this movie, she has proved there’s depth to her acting. Her performance here could be her best one yet. There were scenes where she really stood out (i.e. the moment Grace was begging to Jacqueline) and for those alone, she could really give the other nominees a run for their money. The question is, was her performance better than Nora Aunor’s in Thy Womb? Not really. Aunor becomes the character she is asked to play and this was very evident in Thy Womb. Locsin portrays her character the way she thinks how her character would act or feel. I could still see her as her in One More Try. Angelica Panganiban, on the other hand, was given a very difficult task of portraying Jacqueline. Others think she has the easier role, but in fact, she has not. There were times you’d think her role was more difficult because she’s torn either between being good and bad or doing what is right or wrong. As good as she was, she has ably done what her role was asking her to do. Dingdong Dantes was also good with his role as the husband, and if you’d ask me if it’s Best Actor-worthy, I’ll answer, maybe. Or maybe, there were no other good contenders that’s why he won. Additionally, Zanjoe Marudo’s effort in the movie was also a good one.
The strengths of the movie made up for its probably lack of moral awareness. However, I still couldn’t help but say that the controversial theme should have been handled with more care. Oh well, the story of the movie was complicated, as it was trying to compromise morals of the characters for the sake of another moral issue. Seriously, moral dilemmas would make you think hard not just in movies, but more so in real life. I just hope, though, that the audience did not feel like the movie’s trying to trivialize sex, for sex is not trivial at all.
One More Try movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 4 out of 5