In 2009, my then-teacher Yol asked our FIL11 class to watch at least one entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival. I had not seen a full-length local movie in a long time. Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo did nothing if not affirm my impression that a Filipino movie is not a Filipino movie if it’s not comedy. I don’t remember much of the film, except for one badly inserted Fitrum ad, which strangely stuck in my memory as the sort of thing one expected from the local industry. Of course now I no longer think that way. Despite generalizations, our mainstream networks do occasionally produce good movies, and—as my friends have been insisting for years—One More Chance is one such exception.
Long-time lovers Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) and Basha (Bea Alonzo) have always followed the rules: no skipping work, no wasting gas; eyes always on the prize. But this stability crumbles when she breaks away, suffocated by his rigid insistence on a plan that fails to take present happiness into account. Devastated, Popoy finds comfort in Trisha (Maja Salvador), who promises to take away his pain, “if only it could be done.” Still Popoy struggles to let go of his past, and Basha comes to realize just what she lost when she chose to leave Popoy.
It needs no further underscoring: John Lloyd and Bea Alonzo were well-cast in their roles. Compared to them, Maja Salvador pales appallingly. Her clumsy English distracts from the dialogue, and her onscreen presence does nothing to rival that of the two leads. This latter effect might have been intentional; even so, it is a cheap way to execute what could have been a more convincing love triangle.
One More Chance is that kind of movie where almost everything turns out right. Barely thirty minutes into it, and I was already bawling my eyes out. I appreciate this movie for many reasons (among them, its subtle Biogesic ad), but most of all because it’s made up of equal parts kilig and puso—100% Filipino. Popoy and Basha act contrary to all rational rules, but you understand them because you yourself have known that kind of love, you yourself have been stupid, and—like them—you still believe. Although five years late, I am glad I finally saw this very well-recommended movie. Even at its worst, it is much, much better than Hollywood’s The Break-Up.
‘But you’re asking for too much. Ang hinihingi mo mawala ka sa buhay ko.’
‘She loved me at my worst. You had me at my best. At binalewala mo lang lahat ‘yun.’
‘Don’t ever think it was a mistake that you chose to find yourself. That you chose to love yourself a little bit more.’
‘Hindi mo alam kung gaano ko kagusto sabihin sa ‘yo na…sana tayo na lang. Sana tayo na lang ulit.’