Para sa Hopeless Romantic (2015)

Becca (Nadine Lustre) is a college student who is writing a literary contribution for her school paper and is having a hard time in figuring out an appropriate ending for her romance story. In her bubblegum colored imaginations, Ryan (Inigo Pascual) falls for Maria (Julia Barreto) but he can’t seem to push their relationship further out of fear that he’ll destroy their friendship. Becca is tempted to write a sad ending for Ryan and Maria’s story, but feedback from the people around her make her think twice about doing so.

When Becca starts explaining why she’s so jaded about the probability of a romantic forever, she opens an old wound caused by her ex-boyfriend Nikko (James Reid). Theirs had been a perfect relationship until Nikko suddenly broke up with Becca, saying he had fallen in love with someone else. Five years later, Becca is still struggling to move on. But then she meets Nikko again, and he tells her that he wants another shot at being part of her life.

Narrative

As you would expect from a story with several timelines and universes, the transitions could have benefited from more suave. The script is strong though that even with the cheesy and pedantic lines that Filipino movies can’t seem to rid themselves of the dialogue seems genuine. Over the top, but not out of this world. Maybe that’s the good thing about being a book-to-movie adaptation; the makers have the advantage of bringing out the best parts from the original work.

To be fair to the movie, it portrays normal Filipino living close to reality. Becca’s house and her family portray the urban, semi-starving chic vibe well. Even the product placement of Jollibee – which JaDine endorse – is smooth. It’s doubtful that viewers who are not immersed in the Filipino culture will be able to appreciate the movie as deeply as it ought to be appreciated, but for the average pinoy teenager or twenty-something, the scenes are very relatable.

PSHR fails, however, in giving proper closure to its supporting characters. Towards the end, the pace becomes very dull, leaving the viewer unsure if the last confrontation really was THE confrontation. The ending is weak – not because I personally did not enjoy the ending, but because it could have been explored and delivered better.

Acting

Nadine is consistent in her delivery. She didn’t have to cry very much in this movie – something refreshing in the local romcom industry – but she still managed to show the determined bitterness of a girl who isn’t allowing herself to move on. James proves that he can act, but he still can’t speak straight Tagalog. (At this point, it’s easy not to care given how gorgeous he looks in this movie.) It’s thanks to these two that all that cheese managed to be delectable – their chemistry is strong. The kilig scenes are legitimate, and the comedy is decent as well.

Inigo and Julia, though they were given top billing like JaDine, did not have to contend with the same level of acting. Not to mention, since they’re playing characters in Becca’s candy-colored imagination, they have more leeway to be unrealistic. Both delivered adequately, although Julia can improve on her crying.

There is not much to say about the supporting characters since the movie is dominated by the four main stars. Props to the actress playing Becca’s best friend, because she was the comic relief of the entire movie; she’s still too refined to be legitimately kooky though. On Nikko’s end, his support system delivered properly as well, except they didn’t shine; they weren’t given enough time for that.

Music

One of my favorite things about JaDine movies is that the soundtrack is always engaging. This probably has a lot to do with both of them being music fans and actual singers – they always sing their theme songs, and do so well. There isn’t a strong link between the individual songs used in the movie, but they do complement their respective scenes well. As you would expect from a teen- and young adult-oriented movie, the soundtrack is like bubblegum. One can almost see rainbows and unicorns popping in one’s mind while listening to PSHR’s songs.

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Overall

‘Para sa Hopeless Romantic’ is not a bad movie, but you can go on with your life without having seen it. It’s a must-watch for JaDine fans, because these two bring life to their characters properly. JulNigo fans will appreciate the originality of their idols’ characters, too, although their acting here is limited owing largely to their roles. In general though, there is nothing new that the movie brings to the table. Everything here has been done before, and done much better.

This blog gives ‘Para sa Hopeless Romantic’ 2 out 5 stars. The acting and story are strong, but the narrative is remarkably flat.

Watch if you need to believe in love again, and don’t mind occasionally nauseating backdrops and dialogue.

Title: Para sa Hopeless Romantic.
Starring: James Reid, Nadine Lustre, Inigo Pascual, Julia Barreto.
Story by: Marcelo Santos III (book).
Directed by: Andoy Ranay.

Photo (c) starcinemaforums.
Video (c) ABS-CBN Star Cinema @ YouTube.

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