On its second day of showing, I watched Close to You starring John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, and introducing Sam Milby.
This is the same girl who wrote all those reflections yesterday.
I drove to Cavite earlier today with my parents. Since our car plate number ends with an “8”, it’s banned from the Metro Manila streets until 7 p.m. so we whiled away the time at SM Shoemart Bacoor. We considered our options and chose this movie because we wanted to watch something light and entertaining. Also, Papa insisted that we should see more Filipino movies. We agreed.
It was the first movie I saw since coming back from the U.S. last January. It was the first Filipino movie that I saw in a very long time.
After watching the trailer on TV, I could already predict the ending. This was a prolonged Close-Up commercial that was built around kilig theme songs, stars with a regular following, and a newcomer from the first Pinoy Big Brother. The latter, with my apologies to the fans, was a TV show that I could not stand five minutes of so the significance of watching Sam Milby’s first big picture was lost on me.
The one actor who held the movie together was John Lloyd Cruz. I didn’t know that he had uncanny comic timing. He managed to look forlorn without being too intense. He balanced Bea’s self-conscious, saccharin-sweet acting with his no-nonsense delivery of his lines – using just the right amount of sadness, longing, and playfulness in his eyes, as called for by each scene.
For those who do not live in Manila, the movie is about childhood best friends and how they realized that they were made for each other. If I had to watch another Filipina romantic-comedy heroine with a flower shop business, I’d write a letter of complaint on a national broadsheet. Please, screenwriters, I do believe that Filipinas have proven themselves successful in other equally-creative fields. I realize it is a cool business to appear to run but it has already been used repeatedly in recent films.
The other actors, headed by Nova Villa, Melanie Marquez, and Buboy Garuvillo turned in cardboard performances. I was surprised to see Techie Agbayani in the role of a mother, and was delighted to watch how she fared in it.
I’ve been to all the places that the actors visited in the film – Dumaguete, Bohol, Davao and Singapore, so I felt like I was traveling with them.
I watched the film in SM Bacoor so just imagine all the shrieking and screaming during the Close-Up moments. My parents and I endured all the racket, after all, we were killing time until we could drive back to Quezon City. The movie ended at around 7:30 p.m. We stood up, gathered our belongings, said to ourselves it wasn’t as bad as we expected, and headed home.
Another best friend movie came and went. There was a girl behind me who commented, “Sobrang realistic ng movie. As in nangyayari yan sa totoong buhay.”
I don’t know. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. But if we’re spending time on earth anyway, might as well do so in worthwhile relationships, even those that don’t give us the happy endings that we see on the big screen.
Afterwards, we can always stand up, pick up our bags, start walking, and find our way home.