Starting Over Again

Starting over Again is one of the most celebrated films of Star Cinema for 2014. It’s a blockbuster hit that Filipinos all over the world talked about for months before and after its release. I can’t blame them. It has a really captivating trailer, right? I entertained the idea of seeing this when it was still in cinemas but I wasn’t very keen to watch it. The timing wasn’t right and while everyone is raving of how realistic and how good the film was, I was having doubts if it was worth the money. In the end it took me a while before watching the film, not in cinemas, but in the comfort of my couch with a cup of coffee and my cats as my date.

Type HerStarting Over Again

Star Cinema, 130 minutes
Released on February 12, 2014
Romance, Drama

Watched in June, 2014

Ten years ago, Ginny (Toni Gonzaga), an Architecture student, and Marco (Piolo Pascual), a History professor, began a one-of-a-kind and unpredictable love story. In the five years that they were together, they brought out the best in each other, which included Marco’s unrealized dream of becoming a chef. Together, they worked towards their dream of opening up a restaurant, but when Ginny realized her own pursuits were different from his, she rejected his wedding proposal and left the country for a Masters degree in Architecture.

At present, Ginny co-owns a one-stop Architecture and Interior Design firm specializing in Restoration. She receives an email from Marco, which was written and sent after their break-up, meant to be read four years later. It makes her feel even more regretful of leaving the love of her life. When their firm receives an offer to restore an old house into a restaurant, she is ecstatic to learn that Marco will be co-owning the restaurant. She takes this as a sign that this will be their second chance they need, but finds out that Marco wants the restaurant ready for his wedding proposal to his US-based girlfriend, Patty De Guia (Iza Calzado). This doesn’t stop Ginny from accepting the project in the hopes of winning back Marco, now very different from the man he used to be. When he learns her motives, he plays along to push her regrets and show that he is much better now. But their actions take a toll on them when they talk about the past, feelings start to get involved, and Patty begins to get suspicions about the two.

Can mistakes and wrong decisions be undone to give way to a second chance? Will Ginny get her happy ending with Marco, or is she four years too late?

Director: Olivia M. Lamasan
Writer: Carmi Raymundo

Cast: Piolo Pascual, Toni Gonzaga, Iza Calzado

The irony of watching a popular movie this late is that you’ve heard what everyone had to say about it. I never really cared about spoilers. I find fulfillment with the experience of watching a film or reading a book even knowing before hand how it ends. The journey to get there is what’s important. But the hype with Starting over Again is too much. I thought knowing what SoA is about wouldn’t affect how I watch the film. Oh boy, was I wrong. Hearing spoilers practically everyday is not good for your head. The curiosity died and it would take something far greater than nice for you to appreciate it.

Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers.

I’m not saying SoA is bad. It’s by far one of the most acclaimed films I’ve seen in a while.  Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga did a spectacular job in their roles. Olivia Lamasan and Carmi Raymundo gave us a story that most if not all can relate with. So what is my problem with the film? As much as I want to like the story, as much as I want to relate and feel Ginny, I can’t. Yes, I get that the ending is different from the usual HEA in romcoms especially how we Pinoys love to embellish reality into a twisted dream like love stories but do they really have to go through that all because of a letter sent four frigging years ago? Do Ginny have to be that awfully hard headed, thick faced, relationship-breaker that she really isn’t but she has to be because she has this stupid notion that the universe wouldn’t have let them meet after all this years if it doesn’t mean something? I’m a romantic by heart, yes, but if the freaking circumstances slaps to my face that it’s NOT going to happen, that it’s NOT meant to be, I wouldn’t go all the trouble and heartache trying to get back to a past that died years ago that you know, deep in side, had zero possibility of resurrection. I know I’m being so subjective with this. I just can’t help get frustrated with how a simple issue gets so complicated or I simply loathe complicated relationships.

I do understand that I can’t blame it all to Ginny. Marco played a part as well as to why they reached that point. It’s difficult to take sides after knowing the reason why a beautiful relationship led to that break up, seeing it firsthand how that affected them both and how hard it was for them to move on and rebuild their respective lives. At one point you’ll feel sorry for Marco, then for Ginny. I tried rationalizing their decisions and actions, the circumstances that led to the events when they met again but I can never reconcile with conscious katangahan [1] and cheating, no matter the reason behind it, is cheating. The premise of the film happens in real life but like in all movies it was exaggerated. For one, the movie is so long. Their lines sometimes feel like out from Hallmark. The sex scene is not necessary. I can say all the things I didn’t like with SoA but I can’t dismiss the fact that it has its fine points enough for most viewers to fell madly in love with the film.

If you didn’t love Piolo Pascual in this movie, there is something wrong with your eyes. Tell me who didn’t ogle his jaw-dropping body and lickable abs in that rainy-run-after-the-taxi-break-up-scene? Or wouldn’t you agree that he is at his handsomest in this film? Aside from his looks, he also proved that he is still a fine actor. On the other hand, Ginny wouldn’t be effective if it’s not played by Tony Gonzaga. She’s the only actress who can deliver this role in flying colors. It would have ruined the film if it’s someone else. Another notable actress in this film is Iza Calzado as Patty. She is marvelous in this film. She’s equally effective as the other two and balanced the dynamics within the cast.  Olivia Lamasan did a great job show casting her cast’s talent. She directed the story in an effective timeline. The transition of past and present, to his side and her side, was very smooth. The comedy and the drama were perfectly balanced making you laugh at first and cry the next. It’s proven and tested; a Lamasan film is worth watching.

After all the things I said, I have no argument that Star Cinema produced a gem in this film. I may have strong opinions against some parts of the film but it was far better than some recent Pinoy romcoms we’ve had. They not only divert from romcom tropes but they set a trend that even if it’s not a happy ending, people will pay for a heart-felt film. I may have not loved it that much but I liked it enough.

Mediocre: I can tolerate it but I want more!

Mediocre: I can tolerate it but I want more!

Superb! I’m speechless!

Superb! I’m speechless!

 
from 19 Laslas Quotes From Starting Over Again That You Can Totally Say IRL of Cosmo PH.

Closure is what SoA primarily wants to impart to its viewers. That starting over again doesn’t mean it has to be with the same person. That maybe the purpose of seeing each other again is to close that chapter of their lives and start anew with someone else. I know a lot of people who find themselves on the same boat as Marco and Ginny relate to what they’ve been through, making them see that letting go and moving on is the only way to find the happiness they truly deserve. But I think the most significant lesson it wants us to see is what they didn’t say in the trailer or in any promotional material they did for the film. In a subtle way, SoA showed the importance of communication in making a relationship work. Ginny and Marco forgot that. Complacency in a relationship is a stage that will eventually come. Fears of what the future will bring is always there but if the two of you take the time to face the challenges in your relationship, talk about it and work on it, you wouldn’t end up like Marco and Ginny. If you think your love is worth fighting for, do it. Make an effort. If ever it won’t work out, you know you’ve tried; you’ve given it your best shot. No matter what ending you’ll get, you won’t have regrets.

Other Reviews:
J.Walking
3AM MUSINGS
Piling Pelikula

*****
Blurb & Trailer: Star Cinema

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