The title alone, The Love Affair, has all the makings of a love triangle.
It conjures up the image of a guy going astray. The third party is expected to be a younger, more nubile woman, a far cry from the faithful but matronly wife.
You’d think Star Cinema’s latest movie follows this tired formula.
But thankfully, it veers slightly away from it.
Yes, the source of conflict – the love triangle – is there. But the one who started the ball rolling is – surprise, surprise – not the husband, but the wife.
Dawn Zulueta as one who started the ball rolling in this movie tackling infidelity.
Successful jeweler Patricia Ramos (played by Dawn) feels lonely and neglected, no thanks to her doctor-husband, Vince’s (Richard Gomez) demanding schedule.
Greg (Tonton Gutierrez), his best friend, was willing and able to keep her company while Vince was away.
So one fine day, Vince catches his wife and best friend looking at and teasing each other the way lovers do, and all hell breaks loose. Try as she might to explain that the infidelity didn’t involve any physical contact, Vince remains unconvinced.
He treats her like a non-entity in the conjugal home. A series of events brings younger, heartbroken lawyer Adie (Bea Alonzo) into Vince’s life. And the story starts to unfold.
BATTLE OF WILLS. The action takes place, not between two men locked in battle – but between two educated, intelligent women vying for the heart of the man they love. That’s not new, actually, especially in films like these.
What’s new is that the women don’t go down to the level of slapping each other. They don’t raise their voices for a single moment. That would be predictable and downright unbecoming for highly-regarded people like them.
The sting in their words, the dagger looks, more than make up for this absence of histrionics. Dawn and Bea -- competent actresses that they are – convey hatred in ways that don’t require them to claw at each other.
Not to be outdone, Richard acquits himself as a man the green-eyed monster has consumed body and soul, he succumbs to temptation.
The enduring Richard-Dawn (or CharDawn) magic still works. The tandem looks straight into each other’s eyes, gazes away, sighs, and shows a tidal wave of emotions that ebb and wane while taking viewers along with them.
HIDE-AND-SEEK. Bea as heartbroken Adie is part child, part adult -- thinking wrongly, that she can find happiness elsewhere but her own self.
Add in the just-as-lost Vince and Patricia, and you have three characters playing hide-and-seek with their own selves.
Their children refuse to be drawn into the game, and thankfully, act more adult than their own parents.
The film tugs at the heartstrings, makes the tears flow. But it also has its baffling moments.
Is a call from a might-have-been mother-in-law (Tetchie Agbayani) enough reason for Adie to tell her boss she has to drop everything she’s doing on her first day at work because she has an emergency?
Why didn’t Adie bring her white SUV or use a ride-hailing app instead on the day she resigned from her former fiance’s office? To make her look more pathetic as she went down on her knees to pick up her office stuff from the carton box she dropped on the wet pavement that rainy day?
These lapses, however, don’t detract from the fact that The Love Affair appeals to many because it touches on things dear to our hearts – marriage, family, self-discovery.
It’s a film for those still looking for love, those who think they’ve found it, and those who have lost it.
Come to think of it, that’s just about everybody and anybody.
Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial staff.