REVIEW: JC Santos, Arci Munoz make bold moves in Open

by Jocelyn Valle
Sep 13, 2019
JC Santos and Arci Munoz top-bill the sexy drama Open, which is an entry to Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2019.

How far will you go to save your relationship?

Rome (played by Arci Munoz) finds herself asking that question as she feels her boyfriend of 14 years, Ethan (JC Santos), swiftly slipping away.

That’s why she agrees, albeit hesitantly, to Ethan’s suggestion for them to get into an open relationship and allow each other to sleep with other people.

Thus, the movie’s title, Open.

Jointly produced by Black Sheep Productions and T-Rex Entertainment, Open is an official entry to the 2019 Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), which opens on September 13 in cinemas nationwide.

THE GOOD

Open is a well-thought-out and finely crafted drama that delves into the pros and cons of being in an open relationship.

Director Andoy Ranay seamlessly brought to the big screen the screenplay written by Wanggo Gallaga, Dwein Baltazar, and Katherine Labayen that’s based on the story conceptualized by Wanggo.

The writers created fully-developed and multidimensional lead characters that make viewers not only grasp the idea of being in an open relationship but see the importance of being an individual in a relationship.

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Lead characters Rome and Ethan have been together for so long that they’ve become too comfortable with each other.

Rome has built her world around her boyfriend, and Ethan knows and exploits that aspect of their relationship.

When Ethan learns that his best friend Archie (Vance Larena) is in an open relationship with Archie’s fiancée Monique (Ivana Alawi), he gets curious to the unconventional setup as his attraction to his officemate Erika (Ina Raymundo) deepens.

Ethan successfully convinces Rome to be open to his idea, though the risks involved may close the door on them.

Open provides a lot of insights about nurturing one's relationship and not taking one's partner for granted.

There might be viewers who will detest JC's portrayal of Ethan, especially when he enters into a fling with Ina Raymundo's character. At 43 years old, Ina exudes a raw, sensual vibe that, just like fine wine, only gets better with age.

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Arci is fearless in her sex scenes with JC, particularly when they did their steamy shower scene together.

JC is just as bold, particularly when he lusts after Ina Raymundo's character. It is a ballsy move for him to agree to portray a man with a raging sexual drive.

THE BAD

As Rome and Ethan venture into an unfamiliar territory, they take their relationship into uncertain terrain.

The invisible gray area that they tread is seen and felt onscreen with the use of moody and dramatic lighting.

However, there are moments when the screen becomes excessively shadowy that some characters tend to look unrecognizable.

THE WORTHY

Direk Andoy and the writers wisely put side-by-side two couples in presenting the idea of entering an open relationship.

Rome and Ethan are newbies in the field who are learning from the veterans, Archie and Monique.

This way, the creative team is able to show the advantages and disadvantages without favoring one side.

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Arci and JC both succeed in giving life to their characters Rome and Ethan as conflicted yet empathetic individuals.

But JC, a theater veteran, clearly has more experience in expressing complex emotions and giving a nuanced and fluid performance.

This sexy drama film is rated R-13 by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

Open is one of the entries of the 2019 Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. No Hollywood or foreign films will be screened in cinemas nationwide from September 13 to 19 to make way for the PPP 2019 entries.

Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial team.

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JC Santos and Arci Munoz top-bill the sexy drama Open, which is an entry to Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2019.
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