We have all experienced heartbreak in one point in our lives. For those who haven’t, you have saved yourself from one of the worst excruciating feeling in human existence. You are in a state of shock and turmoil, juggling emotions of depression, helplessness, anger, desperation and confusion in rotation or all at once.
“THE THING CALLED TADHANA” is a story about heartbreak and for positive-minded moviegoers, it is also a story about second chances in love. The story started in Rome, at the airport where we meet the two main character Mace (played by the talented Angela Panganiban) and Anthony (played by the charming JM De Guzman). Mace was trying to unload some of her excess baggage to accomodate her baggage allowance for the flight. This metaphor of excess baggage sets the tone of the movie as Anthony cockily volunteered himself to carry some of Mace’s baggage. This gesture and a plane ride together from Italy to Manila gave the two characters a chance to start an unusual connection. There were no romantic sparks flying just yet especially from the obviously distraught Mace who slowly revealed her being jilted by her lover in Rome. The connection was more born out of irritation from Mace of Anthony’s constant imposition in her depressing state. You have to wonder though what was Anthony real motive for helping Mace. Does he have a knight-and-shining-armor complex? He just loves being the savior to emotionally unstable women. Or he was superficially attracted to Mace upon seeing her at the airport? From what I know of men (sorry for the stereotype, boys), they would most likely give you attention or offer help if you are slightly bit (or more so) attractive. Same goes to initiating friendship with women. Upon deplaning, maybe out of loneliness, boredom or interest ( in Anthony’s part), they manage to set a trip from Manila to Baguio to Sagada. The movie reminds me a lot of the movie Before Sunrise. It is a movie with mainly revolved around two characters roaming around the streets of Europe with heavy deep dialogues about life and love which is very similar to this movie. There are so many quotable quotes in this movie. The choices of the places where Mace and Anthony were quirky and cute though there are some scenes that could have been set in a better backdrop that can display the picturesque Baguio and Sagada.
Angela Panganiban played Mace well by being the typical ‘almost-crazy’ and ‘almost-irrational’ woman who is unlucky with love. She was bold with her emotions and occasionally irritating which would make us think that at is why her ex-boyfriend in the movie broke up with her. JM De Guzman was very charming as the male protagonist in this movie. He later relieved a more complex character as the movie progresses. I wasn’t very sure if the Angela Panganiban and JM De Guzman have enough chemistry as a couple that would generate a following but both actors are great and effective on their own.
The director, Antoinette Jadaone, effectively reached out to the masses by telling a universal story about heartbreak and the journey it takes to find love again. It was tastefully done without trying to force the characters to be hopelessly in love with other on the trip. The story is more about soul-searching about a love that was lost and not looking for a replacement. I love the little story embedded in this movie using an arrow and the heart. (Watch the movie if you want to know what I mean). I love its analogy and the message it conveys. It means that we could love better if we are our own person.
There was no sex scene in the movie (Thank God!) to prove that they have connection. The subtle progression of feelings of the two main characters towards each other are evident. The story ended with a hanging conclusion. If you’ve seen the sequel of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, readers (moviegoers in this case) can be divided in to two: the negative-minded and the positive-minded and they are responsible in setting the fate or Tadhana (in Tagalog) of the characters. In this movie, if you are positive-minded, this will end with Mace & Anthony getting together, got married, have beautiful babies together and preach to everyone that love has second chances. If you are negative-minded (or realistic), this would end with Mace & Anthony tried to get together but later find out that they are not perfectly matched. Anthony is too brooding while Mace is too loud and too emotionally dependent.
How about you? How do you think the story should end?