Amid a sea of hugot films, One Great Love provides a refreshing change of pace by telling a love story that is not so cut and dried but rather tells of one woman’s journey to discover her own heart.
Synopsis: After experiencing heartbreak with her first love Carl (JC de Vera), Zyra (Kim Chiu) shuts herself off from romance for four years until Carl suddenly reappears and stirs up feelings she has long kept abay. Throughout these years, she develops a deep and meaningful friendship with a heart surgeon named Ian (Dennis Trillo), who happens to be the ex of a former classmate. As Zyra rekindles the flame of her first love, she learns too that Ian has developed feelings for her. With her happiness at stake, she begins to question whom is actually her one great love.
Of the Metro Manila Film Festival entries I have seen this year, Director Eric Quizon’s One Great Love had the most solid execution. The story was simple. It explored the concept of One Great Love and how one woman begins to search her own heart when faced with the choice of her exciting and intense affair with her first love, or the quiet and steady life she could have with someone who loves her as she deserves. On paper, the answer is a no brainer but in reality, the choice is not really that easy.
One Great Love’s main strength is that it is grounded on reality and a lot of audiences can relate to Zyra’s dilemma. Many people wonder why people enter into toxic relationships and could not seem to get away from it even though there are alternatives to their plight. This movie explores how difficult it is to suppress one’s feelings especially when faced with the temptation of receiving the love of someone one has loved deeply for many years and it makes Zyra’s choices more understandable, somewhat.
Zyra embodies the plight of these people and this makes her an effective heroine because she is flawed. She is weak and she doesn’t always make the most sound choices when it comes to her relationships. She doesn’t see the red flags and is blind to anything other than what she believes to be her one true love, even though the truth is staring her straight in the face. My mom was fuming at her for her for the most part of the movie and I guess, that’s a positive sign that Kim portrayed her role well, especially since its a departure from her typical rom com characters.
I liked that JC and Dennis were able to represent two polar opposite characters, each showing their love for Zyra in different ways. Dennis was able to build a character that embodied that audiences’ ideal and it was no wonder people identified to him and rooted for Ian. Hopefully, in real life, there are really people like Dr. Ian. Scratch that, guys like him may be rare, but I’m pretty sure they exist. JC, for his part, made Carl come to life, someone who always went after what he wanted regardless of the situation.
Eric Quizon, who also played Zyra’s father in the film was a breath of fresh air from the constant heartbreaks delivered by the characters in the movie. His words of wisdom was on point but he did not stick it down his daughters’ throat even though he fully knows what’s going on.
I also appreciated that the film posted a lot of what if questions and did not make the dialogue about One Great Love absolute. In doing so, it diminished the cliched ideas of having only one great love and opened the possibilities for different types of love. In doing so, it also explained why there are no set formulas or manuals about falling in love and protecting that love. It equated love with imperfection, pain and consequence, as much as it was about joy, excitement and exhilaration.
All in all, One Great Love was a good movie because it had a good core message that it did not stray from, a solid cast of actors to play the main roles and it had a nice pacing that kept audiences engaged just enough to invest in the characters emotionally. Most of all, it was very relateable because it was grounded on an idea that audiences would truly want to believe — that for each person, there is that One Great Love and that their love story is just waiting to be told. Most of all, it kept the audience wondering what Zyra’s final choice would be by giving each part of her love stories equal importance, holding their attention til the very end. That’s a mark of smart storytelling, right there.