There is a candid scene in Dan Villegas' How To Be Yours where Bea Alonzo's character was called "beautiful" by Gerald Anderson, which she humbly downgraded into just "charming."
While it may sound an oversimplification, the film itself, is remarkably both, oozing with beauty and charm that continuously thrive even at moments when the narrative shreds its painful details.
Peeled further, the film excavates depths and layers in modern relationships, thrusting more into attention when it bares itself with crippling honesty.
It is a film molded int a formulaic rom-com set-up, but one with much more resonating voice to get all its relatable sentiments across.
At its core is Anj (Bea Alonzo), a humble cook with towering ambitions. She meets Nino (Gerald Anderson), a charismatic salesman, in a surreal love-at-first-sight moment that entwined their destinies together.
The run of its proceedings is strikingly familiar, finding ground on endearingly, cutesy scenes—that may be cheesy sometimes, but still irresistible—and developing into generous hefts of both humor and romance, only to crumble apart when it starts placing key players in emotional confrontations.
Both Bea and Gerald are able to deliver commendable performances here, playing as lovers whose commitments are pulled into the opposing poles of love and career.
But it is Gerald who pulls off the more recognizable pain, presenting a new power to an old facet he has already shown in his previous outings. His Nino is a man of commitment and patience, pushing his girlfriend to achieve her full potential.
But when Alonzo's Anj finally breaks his limit, Anderson shines and imbues his character with some poignant sentimentality. There is a verve in his portrayal, a manly elegance that prevails even during his character's own moments of breakdown.
Such also holds true for Anj, whose own struggles are never less devastating to deal with. Alonzo is flawlessly radiant, and she grows even more beautiful during Anj's emotional tragedies. But it's their combined effort that is truly impeccable.
There is an electrifying sultry scene that Bea and Gerald shared under the shimmer of sparkling chandeliers, which conjures magic, creating an even sexier phenomenon. The two explode in seemingly inherent chemistry, one Direk Dan is able to singularly handle, and fully utilize, for the rest of the movie.
While he messes up in providing dynamics to his film's entire comic support, the humor he injects to the script is contagious enough to keep its comedic efforts from getting wasted.
There's brilliance in his storytelling and that's amidst a narrative that primarily works because of its simplicity.
Perhaps, it's the gloss, the film being able to push its aesthetic capacity past its perceived limits. Mhycko David's exquisite cinematography is consistently appropriate, offering a visual appeal that always enforces the film's beautiful intents.
Even where it's lacking, How To Be Yours remains a film of general palatability. The comic ensemble led by Janus del Prado and Nicco Manalo doesn't seem provided with better space, and this is a team that could have granted the film a more salient comedic appeal, but one couldn't just dismiss the film's effort at said department to be rudimentary. The humor here, is working, and that's already a feat to the very film that undermines the full potential of its comic crew.
Looking at the bigger picture, the film looks overly-stuffed with underutilized supports who are only there to pull off one-liner jokes and praises that are intended for the main protagonists. This ensemble has Lito Pimentel, Ricardo Cepeda, and Ana Roces, but you can scratch them off the picture, and the film won't lose its charm.
How To Be Yours is a film that conforms with a common template in the mainstream romance cinema, but there is a grace in its approach that somehow sets itself far better than just being ordinary.
This is a film of traditional ending, but one that is well-earned and substantiated, its journey to resolution not rushed, and is delivered with sincerity.
A film about choices and commitments, how we make them, and how they break us, How To Be Yours is a celebration of relationships, and their heart-shattering disasters that mold us into the persons we need to become.
Directed by Dan Villegas, How To Be Yours is Graded B by the Cinema Evaluation Board.
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.
(Read: Bea-Gerald-starrer How To Be Yours earns P10 million on opening day)
REVIEW: Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson have electrifying chemistry in How To Be Yours
by Je C.C. posted on July 29, 2016