Para sa Hopeless Romantic: Movie Review

Para-Sa-Hopeless-Romantic-poster-released-460x280Third time’s the charmed for director Andoy Ranay’s collaboration with love team Nadine Lustre and James Reid. In yet aother wattpad inspired film, this team finally managed to find the perfect balance of romance, drama, and surrealism to end up with a movie that is relateable and realistic, thanks to author Marcelino Santos III, who penned the novel in which the movie was based. (Note: He also makes a cameo in the movie as the school paper editor)

Becca (Nadine Lustre) is an embittered college student who writes sad love stories for her university paper because she has yet to move on from her break up with her first love Nicco (James Reid) five years ago. She writes about characters like Ryan (Inigo Pascual) and Maria (Julia Barretto), whose love is doomed from the start because of her own experience with love. But as fate would have it, just as she is about to move on and take another chance with an anonymous stranger who exchanges notes with her on her school desk, her path crosses with Nicco anew and it seems Nicco is still hung up on her as well.

From the moment I heard about this movie, I was immediately psyched about it. So much so that I even read the novel to check whether or not I would be disappointed with the story. Thankfully, Santos’s novel proved to be engaging and well worth the excitement.

I must admit that I’m a big fan of the Jadine loveteam mainly because there’s great chemistry between the two. Its true that the first two movies that featured them (Diary ng Panget and Talk Back and You’re Dead) were truly cringeworthy but it wasn’t because they lacked the acting chops or that  director Andoy Ranay failed as a director. I place the blame solely on the source materials that lacked substance and were truly farfetched to begin with (even for works of fiction) and screenwriters who did nothing to address the glaring loopholes that the novels presented.

With Hopeless Romantic, Jadine finally had the opportunity to work with a material that would challenge them to draw on their acting skills to depict portrayals that the audience could relate to on more than a superficial level. This time around, there was a more mature story that dealt with what real people dealt with in reality — heartbreak and how to move on from it. I’m glad to say that Jadine delivered. True, these two young stars are far from award winning level but with a bit more push and more experience, I’m sure they would further improve on their craft.

Jadine had to share the spotlight with another teen loveteam, showbiz legacies Ynigo Pascual and Julia Barretto but the film did a pretty good job in dividing the limelight between the two pairs. Inigo has improved in his acting and delivery compared to his first projects and Julia has good rapport with him. Most of the lighter moments were focused on the two and it seemed appropriate because they had a younger and more innocent vibe to them in the first place.

What I also liked about the movie was that screenwriter Mel Mendoza del Rosario slightly modified the story  to connect the stories of Nicco and Becca with that of Ryan and Maria — the notes, the eating, the seats, and the romantic montages gave the audience insight into what Becca was going through so that they don’t hate her for being bitter. In a way, it led to a greater understanding of her hurt and disillusionment, although she did tend to be overly bitter. What I liked however, was how the characters evolved as the story progressed. The Becca at the start of the movie was much different than the one at the end. Same goes for Nicco, and characters who evolve are always a good thing.

Great casting for the character of Jackie by the way, although chances are pretty slim that she will get her own spinoff movie like her literary counterpart did (Para sa Broken Hearted). Cherie Gil’s role as Miss Katigbak was short but sweet. As usual, whether light or heavy, Miss Cherie Gil always delivers on point performances that are worthy of note.

All in all, Para sa Hopeless Romantic was a pretty nice movie. It wasn’t overly deep nor overly shallow. It didn’t go overboard with the romance and gauged its actors’ ability with that of the audiences’ expectations to serve up something that is worthy to be seen on the big screen and write about. It wasn’t perfect, of course, cinematography and lighting could use some work (excessive use of close ups, but audiences seemed to like it), but in general, it was pretty solid. Its the type of movie I wouldn’t mind seeing again.

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