Sakaling Hindi Makarating (movie review)

cinefilipino-sakaling-hindi-makarating-movie-poster

Loaded with gorgeous shots showcasing the beauty of the Philippines, Sakaling Hindi Makarating is an impressive Cine Filipino film that bears love at its core: losing it and finding it again, may it just be in another form.

I honestly had apprehensions before watching the movie. I worried that the movie, which is one of the featured films in this year’s Cine Filipino Film Festival would just add up to the many films I’ve watched and yet failed to post reviews about. If you have known me or have been following me since the early 2010’s (or even mid-2000s), you would know that I am very fond of movies and I tend to write what I thought of them via this movie blog (it was in multiply in the olden days, este, years ago). Anyway, I’m back after almost half a year of hiatus in movie-writing. It’s gladdening to know that some of my friends have missed my movie reviews (you know who you are, guys) and said they really do read what I write (and be swayed to watch a certain movie or not, haha)! Thank you, guys, and I hope you will continue reading now that I’m back!

Sakaling Hindi Makarating is about Cielo, a 20-something woman who has just recently broken up with her fiancé, her lover for 11 years. One day, she received a postcard containing an artwork depicting Kalanggaman Island and, at its back, a letter of love. The postcard that was addressed to her apartment was given by a certain M to her, a C. Is M her former fiancé, Mark? Or is he a new guy who’s ready to pick up the pieces of her broken heart? With the help of a new-found friend/neighbor named Paul, she embarks on a solo journey around the Philippines in search for M using the clues on the postcards she has been receiving.

Sakaling Hindi Makarating is refreshing to watch because it seemed like everything about it gives a whole different kind of a movie experience. It’s comparable to a journey that one has to go through during difficult times and then eventually finding his way out by finding himself or knowing the answers in the places he goes to and with the people he encounters along the way. The movie’s themes hit close to home as tales of love, travel and  freedom echo all throughout this one-and-a-half hour Cine Filipino movie.

I have always liked how Alessandra Rossi acted in teleseryes or movies and after all these years, she has proven that she still has it with this film. She’s a natural as Cielo; she’s able to show the mood of a woman who’s into a deep pit of melancholy while trying to leave out of it with her solo traveling adventures. Her delivery of lines is so good you’d really believe she’s Cielo and not just Alessandra acting as Cielo. Pepe Herrera, her co-star in the film as Paul, is charmingly funny his acting and his lines in the film would almost always make an impression with the audience. The small supporting cast, most of whom play the characters that Cielo met on her journey around the country, is very remarkable albeit their small roles.

I love it that the movie’s director and writer, Ice Idanan, is able to balance the seriousness of the movie’s themes,the solidity of his characters and the humor behind their dialogues. The heaviness of the drama as it unfolds at the start is eventually lightened up as the story goes by. Moreover, I never did find the movie boring. Its fast pace definitely helped. The way the story was presented was beautiful in itself, and showcasing the beauty of the Philippines along the way seemed like just a bonus.

Anyone who has loved deeply will be able to relate to this film, most especially those that have lost their love eventually. There are instances when the parting of two people isn’t mutual and the fall out seems to be harder for the one who was left behind. Memories of her lost love kept flashing back through the eyes of Cielo for most of the film, and similar scenarios must have been echoing in the hearts of those who can relate to her in the audience. The movie did not exploit this heart-breaking plot, though. The writer did give lots of ideas on mending that broken heart, from singly backpacking and journeying the Philippines to finally freeing oneself from the kind of love one does not deserve.

Aside from showcasing bits of heart nuggets that have been given above, the film has presented some of the most spectacularly beautiful locations in the country: the lovely Zamboanga, the awesome Siquijor, the marvelous Marinduque, the exquisite Ilocos Norte and the beauteous Batanes. I’ve been only to one of these five places and the movie has definitely made me want to go to the other four sooner than later! Travelers and explorers alike would love Sakaling Hindi Makarating as they would be able to  feel the love and the appreciation everyone behind the fillm has put to present our country in a marvelous way.

Congratulations to the whole cast and crew for this astounding Filipino film. The pondering movie fan’s movie rating of Sakaling Hindi Makarating is 4.5 out of 5.

Starting Over Again

Starting Over Again movie poster

So far the best romantic comedy movie I have ever watched (I haven’t seen One More Chance on the big screen so maybe that made a difference), Starting Over Again is easily the most relatable and probably has the most realistic portrayal of hearts who have loved, lost love and found it once again. The movie stars Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga as former lovers who have crossed paths once again. Are they going to relive their romance even though one of them is already attached to somebody new? Or are they still trying to find answers from each other about what happened before while yearning for what could have been if they had stuck together?

“It’s complicated. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Starting Over Again is one interesting movie. The story of two couples breaking up and trying to start over again was already made before, but this one is very different story-wise and how it was told. Some people may find the ending sad, but for me, it was not just satisfying, it was also what’s most likely to happen in a story like this. The whole feel of the movie might be too idealistic, but in its roots it was based on what’s realistic.

“Naniniwala ako na kung may gusto kang sabihin, dapat sabihin mo na.”

Films about love can start a whole discussion about loving. One realization I had while watching this movie is how fragile the heart can be. The heart is used to love, but sometimes it goes against us if we love too much. Because once it breaks, with or without a good reason, it may take a very long time to be whole again. Another realization would be: hoping, even though always good in a sense, can also go against us. We can be all too hopeful in love but we have to be grounded on what’s real and true. Or else, we might just be surprised we no longer know ourselves after yearning for something we cannot have and being torn about it for a long time.

“Adik ka na naman sa pag-asa eh. Try mo na kaya lumaklak ng realidad?”

There were surprisingly a crazy lot of funny scenes, some heavy dramatic scenes and a combination of comedy and drama in a number of scenes in this movie. For years, I’ve never seen a movie that made me laugh out loud in a second and pained me just right after. I was impressed by how the director, Olivia Lamasan, and her lead actors, Pascual and Gonzaga, made that possible.

“In love, there is no fear.”

Speaking of Lamasan, I have never been a fan of her films. However, after watching this movie, I may just check out her previous works. The way she handled the scenes, especially the heavy drama stuff, was nothing short of great. Those close-up shots she made of the actors magnified the emotions they were trying to convey on their scenes together. And it worked! Add to that the many flashback scenes, which were gradually given as if to tease the audience, really worked out well to tell the story more effectively.

“I deserve an explanation. I need an acceptable reason.”

Piolo Pascual may just have proven once again he’s still the leading man to look up to after all these years. He showed in this movie that his good acting skills certainly did not leave him after being absent on the big screen for a long time. Toni Gonzaga, on the other hand, can claim the title rom-com queen for consistently hitting it big in the movies whoever her partner is. Her charm and effortless comic skills certainly pushed her on top of the game.

“Closure.”

I don’t always watch romantic-comedy films but when I do, I make sure it’s really worth it. And Starting Over Again is more than worth it.

Starting Over Again’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 4.5 out of 5