Chick Flick Review #2: One More Chance (Star Cinema, 2007)

I’ve seen this film six, maybe seven times, and I still haven’t gotten tired of it.  Though the plot can be summed up as ‘boy and girl break up, miss each other, and get back together’, the storytelling goes way beyond it.

First, it’s not told against the standard Star Cinema drama template.  No unnecessary theatrics, no unbelievable characters, no unrealistic turns and twists.  Most importantly, it’s a surprisingly real portrayal of a relationship and the struggle to keep one’s sense of self and identity. 

Image from Wikipedia
Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) and Basha (Bea Alonzo) are probably some of the most memorable local film characters to date, especially since most of One More Chance’s target viewers, both male and female, completely relate to them.  Overprotective and often suffocating, Popoy is the kind of guy who thinks of himself as the proverbial knight in shining armor, who should sweep his girl off her feet all the time—even if she has expressly stated not to.  On the other hand, Basha is your typical girl who had spent her life following orders—from her parents, her teachers, her friends, and, in this case, her boyfriend.  Looking at this scenario can bring one to think that, hey, they’re made for each other, but actually the fact that people are capable of changing and reach their saturation point is played out here convincingly.  So Basha decides to leave Popoy, leaving him in a dazed and confused state, and tries to start her life anew by making her own decisions.  Popoy, losing the love of his life and the one person on whom he had complete influence, went on a downward spiral to alcohol and sleepless nights.  One of the most memorable scenes in the movie (for me at least) was when Popoy accidentally sees Basha at their usual group dinner (they were part of a group that would have dinner regularly in this one restaurant—I think it’s Bellini’s in Cubao X) with her co-worker Derek Ramsey (forgot his character’s name, but, whatever).  John Lloyd was awesome in his portrayal of the devastated guy who finally realized that his girl had indeed moved on; his dramatic reaction was not over the top nor was it too subtle.  And that scene marked the end of what I thought of as the ‘conflict’ part of the story.

The ‘resolution’ part turned out to be ok (but not as riveting as the other one) and saw the appearance of Maja Salvador’s character as Popoy’s new girlfriend.  She had Basha’s new short-hair style, which I thought suited her small, pretty face more, and which was obviously why Popoy was attracted to her.  She seemed more sure of herself, made her own decisions, and basically had a better sense of herself—not exactly what Popoy wanted.  Of course, we all expected how later—after Popoy and Basha started spending time together on a project—Popoy would break up with her.  Maja was luminous in this scene, capturing the pain of a woman scorned to a T.  Fabulous actress!  Among young actresses today, she’s one of my favorites.

All’s well that ends well as Popoy and Basha reconnect after Popoy spends a year or so working abroad, which really meant that he had time to change and shift his take on things like love.  As he surprises Basha at her construction site, we all know that this would be the start of something more permanent.

Feel-good movie.  Not exactly romantic, but not cynical, either.  Just right, believable, realistic.  No wonder so many people—like me—never get tired of watching it over and over.


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